Orchids of Table Mountain (24 December)

Slippertalk Orchid Forum

Help Support Slippertalk Orchid Forum:

TyroneGenade

mad scientist
Joined
Sep 15, 2008
Messages
2,394
Reaction score
100
Location
Johnson City, TN
Hi all,

Just before Christmas a friend and I went for a walk up Table Mountain. (We started at 07h00 and reached bottom at 16h00 and our legs still hate us). The path was up Kasteelspoort, across to the Aquaduct and then up to McClear’s Beacon (the highest point of Table Mountain) and then across the central Table, down Echo Valley, through the Valley of Isolation and then down Jubilee Butress (big mistake!).

Coming up Kasteelspoort (on the Camps Bay side of the mountain) and cutting across to the Aquaduct we came upon the legless lizard pictured. I’m not quite sure what species it is. It looks like Chamaesaura aenea but this species is not supposed to be found on Table Mountain. It is surely not the uniform olive Cape grass lizard, Chamaesaura anguina. It was pretty tame and I was able to pick it up with it protesting much. It posed very politely for some photographs. Also found along the trail was a Disa cornuta (though the one pictured below was found on the central Table itself, it is quite common).

chamaesaura_species_105.jpg


disa_cornuta_609.jpg


At the mouth of the Aquaduct were several plants of Corycium carnosum. While not grand, it is certainly not an unattractive orchid.

corycium_carnosum_plant_545.jpg


corycium_carnosum_flower_204.jpg


Entering the Aquaduct the rock ledges were decorated with Disa longicornu in full bloom. Each bloom is a single plant. There are many more plants that flowers. The close-up show two different flowers. The one has a uniform blue colour but a malformed hood. The other has a lovely shape but one of the pollinium has been taken exposing the red pollinium cup. The rock ledge shown is of a ledge in the Valley of Isolation. This species is wide spread on Table Mountain.

disa_longicornu_rock_ledge_156.jpg


disa_longicornu_flower1_747.jpg


disa_longicornu_flower2_201.jpg


Also along the Aquaduct were some Disa glandulosa. These were rooted in the moss wall (as usual), growing horizontally away from the rock. These flowers presented themselves very nicely. Also to be found was Disa vaginata. These species are so similar I didn’t realize I had seen both until having a closer look at the photos. The vaginata grow on the ground in moss or damp loamy soil. They grow in clumps and at the time of being photographed the plant had began to wither, leaving only the flowers. Both species auto-pollinate their flowers. The vaginata flower in November into December, and the glandulosa from December into Januray.

disa_glandulosa_flower_974.jpg


disa_vaginata_plants_157.jpg


disa_vaginata_flower_171.jpg


Moving along the central Table I chanced upon a patch of Disa tenuifolia. This was the first time I had encountered this species outside of a book and the experience was thrilling. The sun-shine yellow of the flowers is spectacular. The little red blush of the sepals is just extra charm. They were growing in wet loamy ground in a small clearing. I imagine there were many more plants but they were crowded by the other plants and thus did not flower. After a fire I bet the entire area if brilliant yellow with their flowers. Sadly, I think I was the only person on the mountain that day who could appreciate this marvellous find. The tourists raced by the patch of the flowers on the way to the beacon for their photo opp. Directly opposite the tenuifolia was a patch of vaginata (about 30 flowering plants).

disa_tenuifolia_plants_162.jpg


disa_tenuifolia_171.jpg


Going through the Valley of Isolation on the way back down, I stumbled upon another [/i]Disa[/i] species. At first I thought it was a Satyrium, but it lacked the twin spurs, and the only spur present was tiny if not almost absent. It could be Disa cylindrica but that is a big guess. In truth, I can match it to none of the photos or descriptions in Stewart et al’s Wild Orchids of Southern Africa nor Linder & Kurzweil’s Orchids of Southern Africa. None of the pictures show a flower with combination of reticulated lime green sepals, yellowy petals, short spur and dark stigma. This one is a bit of a mystery. I hope to pass the pictures on to Linder and see what he thinks. (Wish I had used my head and got a tissue sample to give to Bellstedt for DNA analysis.)

disa_species_plant_560.jpg


disa_species_167.jpg


The last picture in the series is of a view taken on the way to McClear’s Beason looking down on the “Southern Suburbs” of Cape Town. You can make out Newlands Rugby Stadium. Across the road from it (towards the mountain) is Cavendish Shopping Mall. The family of my grandfather, Coenrad Dreyer, used to own all the land stretching towards the right till almost the end of the picture. He converted from Judaism to Christianity (mainly to irritate the Presbyterian pastor of his church about the immorality of offering plate) and was cut out of the will :-(

newlands_905.jpg


Hope you liked the photos. If you plan on visiting, let me know and I can show you around the mountain (there is a well maintained cable car so you don’t have to walk up the mountain).

Happy New Year!!!
 
P

P-chan

Guest
Happy New Year to you, also! Thank you for the beautiful photos!! What a treat! Now I can head off to work thinking of that beautiful scenery..:)
 

SlipperKing

Madd Virologist
Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
19,619
Reaction score
1,145
Location
Pearland TX
Great show! Love the pics anll the comments. PS. maybe they'll name them last Disa after you if it's a new discovery!
 
G

goldenrose

Guest
:clap::clap: What a FABULOUS guided tour! Fascinating! I've never heard of legless lizard, let alone seen one! :clap: Thanks for posting - great thread!
 

Leo Schordje

wilted blossom
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
2,474
Reaction score
28
Location
NE Illinois
Beautiful and informative, thanks. And be careful about inviting us to visit, you never know, we might ALL come. I would love to visit, maybe in 2010 or 2011 if my economy gets better.
 

arcticshaun

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2007
Messages
240
Reaction score
1
Location
Yellowknife, NWT, Canada
Thanks for the photos, it's great to see some of the diversity of S. Africa. I don't have any Disas but I did buy 'Grow Disas' by Crous and Duncan to learn more about them.

Shaun
 
N

nikv

Guest
What a fabulous journey! Thanks for sharing your photos with us! And please let us know if you are able to have that unknown species identified.
 

kentuckiense

Debaser
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
2,103
Reaction score
2
Location
Richmond, VA
Excellent photos! That is certainly an exquisite place. Which of the two South African orchid books you mentioned do you consider better?
 

SlipperFan

Addicted
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
43,287
Reaction score
30
Location
Michigan, USA
All the above! It must be wonderful to see Disas in the wild! The first one looks blue on the backside -- I don't remember seeing this one before.
 

TyroneGenade

mad scientist
Joined
Sep 15, 2008
Messages
2,394
Reaction score
100
Location
Johnson City, TN
Excellent photos! That is certainly an exquisite place. Which of the two South African orchid books you mentioned do you consider better?

Thanks for the comments.

The Duncan book is very nice for basic Disa info and lots of info on cultivation. Disa are still tough though...

About the books I mention, the Stewart et al book is out of print for a long time now... I think the Linder & Kurzweil book is also out of print. I would say the latter is better because it is more up to date and has many more photos. :)

One new book has recently come on the market: Field Guide to the Orchids of Northern South Africa and Swaziland by Umdaus Press. (It has been published... no one has yet updated the website. Silly sausages...)

And a new one is in the pipeline: Orchids of the Cape

You may want to contact Alan Pike at a_kl at mweb.co.za about the CD the SAOC has produced on South African Orchids. There is a set of 4 disks for about $20 exclusing postage. Proceeds go towards the 2014 WOC.

September/October is an interesting time for orchids in the Cape. I'm sure the host club will organise some orchid tours. Then it is only a 2 hr flight down to the Cape.

tt4n and Happy new year!
 

Latest posts

Top