Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Where clean water clattered in streams from a mossy sandstone overhang along the Aqueduct on Table Mountain, my eye was drawn suddenly to a ghostly blue flower. A disa. But not the red uniflora I have come to expect in late summer along this track. Something more delicate altogether.
After taking pictures of the lovely things, we saw them later, high up on south-facing cliffs, where seepage stained the rocks dark and moss kept their feet cool. Quite inaccessible.
At home, in Prof. Jackson's Wild Flowers of Table Mountain, I read the following:
"This beautiful, pale mauve-blue Disa is rather rare and local, confined to mossy clefts in damp rock faces with dripping water in shady places facing south, from about 500m upwards. ...It was first collected by Thunberg in 1773, who wrote '...with great difficulty and at hazard of my life I got for the first and last time Disa longicornis, which is as beautiful as it is singular in form'.
"...It flowers for Christmas.
"A group of drip disas together [as seen on the cliffs, late]is an arresting sight, not as brilliant as a cluster of red Disas, but somehow more surprizing and poignant [italics my own]".
Of the late Prof. Jackson I can't help thinking of the quote of Petra Muller's that I love, "Ek is 'n man met blombehoeftes."
I am a man with flower-needs.