It is late winter on Mountainlands Nature Reserve. The golden yellow of the veld has morphed into a light brown and the air is filled with a dry, lulling haze. Back burns have been made and block burns to bring new life to moribund patches. Some plants only flower when stimulated by fire; putting up a showy display against a black backdrop. When taking a stroll you may come across some of the following:
Tetradenia riparia (Ginger-bush), a semi-succulent multi-stemmed shrub.The crushed leaves have a strong ginger like scent. These plants tend to stick to the rocky hillsides and dry, wooded grasslands.
The Erica drakensbergensis shrubs that grow on Mountainlands don’t read their “when to flower” manual and can be found blooming in winter and early summer in the grasslands and higher lying forest margins.
Aloe chortolirioides is a striking grass aloe that often flowers in response to fire.
An outstanding feature of Halleria lucida (Tree Fuchsia) is the flowers that sometimes grow in dense clusters on old wood. The trees can be seen growing along streams or in the higher lying grasslands.
Easy to miss due to their size of about 20cm tall. Drimia depressa in bloom in the grasslands after fire.
Flowering mostly in summer, Asclepias stellifera can also be seen in bloom after grassland fires.
Apodolirion buchananii (Natal Crocus) is a small bulbous plant that is easy to miss. It flowers after burns and colours vary from white to pink.
Cyrtanthus galpinii is exceptionally beautiful and flowers in winter with a preference to partial shade.
Brachystelma pygmaeum subsp. pygmaeam is a low growing herb that occurs in rocky grasslands. Due to its tiny size, its bright yellow colour is best spotted after a burn.
The brightscarlet flowers of Erythrina lysistemon (Sacred Coral-tree) appears before the leaves making the trees stand out in the veld.
Dombeya rotundifolia (Wild pear) seems to prefer a certain elevation on Mountainlands. Many small trees can be seen flowering together wrapping themselves like a white girdle around the mountains.