Daar's n Wind wat Waai - by Soldaatskraal

Ismail, Gigi and Joti came up from Cape Town on Tuesday evening. The planning meeting was held on Wednesday at Strawberry Hill and Ismail produced his usual list of “impossibles” for us to find. This year, most of them are on the high mountain peaks of the Southern Cape and include areas from De Hoop to the Kouga. We have a challenging task ahead and will certainly need to enlist the help of the HAT of the MCSA. Quite a lot of the species were originally found by Elsie Esterhuysen, the famous mountaineer/botanical explorer. She has been described as "the most outstanding collector ever of South African flora", amassing 36,000 herbarium specimens. The meeting was followed by a sumptuous lunch provided by the Outramps.

On Thursday our numbers for the field trip were down, because of the imminent long weekend and the change of day from Friday to Thursday. I had asked the Keysers for permission to go up to the original location, where we found Mimetes chrysanthus in 1996 on the western head of Paardepoort. I had not heard back from them, so changed plan to scramble up to the Golden Pagoda Ridge from Soldaatskraal in the Langkloof. The owner, Alwyn Henning is always very welcoming and supportive. His farm is rapidly becoming a model for the area and every time we go there, we notice improvements. As we started up the slopes, the already strong wind was gathering momentum and by the time we got to the top it was difficult to stand upright. I would certainly not have managed without the crutches. Mimetes chrysanthus (Vulnerable) was looking even more beautiful than when we were last there. Ismail was delighted, as he was able to add both Leucadendron comosum and the Golden Pagoda to his Life List. He’s been wanting to see them for ages.

There was more excitement, when he spotted a small prostrate Amphithalea in flower. I said, “I cannot recall ever seeing this one before”. However, at almost 80, my memory is distinctly unreliable and so it proved to be. From Mr Fab, “This should be A. micrantha looking all fresh after the fire. I recall our seeing it on Rooiberg”. Interestingly, Cape Plants has it growing from Swartberg to Van Stadens Mts at high altitude, so this could be a range extension. It was growing at 996m, which is much lower than stated by Cape Plants.

The CREW team left for CT at the crack of dawn on Friday after a very successful trip. We will be seeing them again soon at the workshop to be held close to Hermanus in early June. We are looking forward.

Last Sunday, Bill and I took advantage of the closed sailing season and walked the Katriver Circuit. I was hoping that we might find Dioscorea burchellii (Vulnerable), but we saw no sign of it. We did see Anredera cordifolia, the Madeira Vine. There isn’t much of it, so it could still be controlled. Although this is a very pleasant walk, it is spoilt by the presence of many aliens like Black Wattle, Blackwood, Cyathea cooperi (Aussie Invader fern), Bluegums and a host of others. I am also concerned by the presence of a water weed and would be grateful for an id. If it is alien, there is a major problem on the Garden Route Dam. I have posted it on iNaturalist, but no id’s have been forthcoming yet. There are also two pictures in the Album.

Here is Brian’s update on his Masters and some Field trips. This is the link to his PHOTOS
Going going slow...
Fieldwork this year has seemingly been as scarce as rain in our part of the world this year. Now in my second and final year of masters, fieldwork has for the most part taken a back seat and made way for writing and labwork. My work is coming along nicely and I have just about finished my species descriptions. I have managed to do two field trips in the past two months. The first was an introduction to CREW which I arranged for a group of potential undergrad recruits. We were lucky enough to visit Protea odorata (CR) at Joostenbergkloof with Jacques van der Merwe who is from City of Cape Town and an old familiar face on iSpot. We also managed to see a few other specials even in the extreme drought conditions. They included: Elegia extensa (EN), Aspalathus aculeata (EN), Aspalathus reflexa (VU), Xiphotheca lanceolata (EN), Leucadendron lanigerum subsp. lanigerum (EN), Leucadendron verticillatum (CR), and Protea scorzonerifolia (VU). We hope to get this group on a few more field trips later in the year. We are also aiming at doing some site sheets on iNat.

The next trip was a quick round trip to search for Oxalis sites for two fourth year conservation ecology students. The weekend trip (13-15 April) went all round from Stellenbosch to Vanrhynsdorp to Nieuwoudtville to Calvinia to Sutherland and back home. Driving past Nieuwoudville at this time of year cannot be allowed without stopping to admire the mass display of Brunvigia bosmaniae, and what a display it was! Most areas were still very dry, but the Roggeveld escarpment had good rain over the past month and we were treated to an Oxalis flowering display similar to Namaqualand in early spring. Oxalis burkei was flowering pale lilac all over in incredible displays. We also managed to find three new localities for our potentail new Oxalis that we collected there in 2017, and we have even almost managed to convince Kenneth that it’s new. We also stopped at my one Polhillia involucrata (EN) site where I found a potentially new Argyrolobium last year with Charlie. After finding A. argenteum elsewhere on this trip on the Roggeveld, I am more certain that this is indeed a new species. Just a few metres away, while photographing a strange Aspalathus without flowers, I noticed a spot of yellow growing along the ground. It was another Aspalathus, which appears to show affinity to A. nudiflora, but is potentially also new! Unfortunately there was not enough flowering material for a good type specimen, but I will try go back later in the year to get more flowers. A very memorable trip for such a short weekend in the field.

Now, having dipped onto the wrong side of 25, I look forward to hopefully getting into the field a little more and getting this M.Sc done. We have had some decent rain recently in Stellenbosch and surrounds, so hopefully we will have a better flower season coming up! I hope to see most of you at the CREW workshop in June.
Groete,
The Boy / Mr Fab / Dr Pea

We have recently spent a lot of time in the northern foothills of the Outeniquas. As a complete change of scene, we hope to visit Spioenkop in the Ruiterbos plantation area. While Dioscorea burchellii is fresh in our minds, this location might be worth exploring on Friday.
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
The Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

All id’s subject to confirmation by Doc Annelise and Jan Vlok, Steven Molteno Dr Tony Rebelo, Nick Helme, Prof Charlie Stirton, Dr Robert Archer, Dr Robert McKenzie, Dr Ted Oliver, Christopher Whitehouse, Derek Tribble, Adriaan Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans and Damion. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Posted by outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, April 30, 2018 04:09

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