Plant patisserie

TrichodesmaPhysaloides on a hill slope

The first signs of Spring are visible on Mountainlands with trees such as Dombeya rotundifolia coming into bloom. The pickings are still few, but a highlight is seeing the perennial herb Trichodesma physaloides, also known as Chocolate Bells etched against the bleak landscape. These plants only flower once the grasslands or wooded grasslands and mountainsides have burnt.  And where there is freshly sprouted grass, they may end up on the menu of the ungulates. Luckily this year, the zebras and impalas have left some for  us to admire. And if you are wondering by now if they taste like chocolate then the answer is unfortunately no.

A closer look at the flowers

Close up of flower

They occur predominantly in summer rainfall areas all the way up to Ethiopia. The drooping flowers are visited by bees and other pollinators. In one of the photos you can see a crab spider has caught one of the pollinators.

Crab spider with its supper inside a flower.

Unfortunately, these plants are not in cultivation as they need fire to bloom.

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