Monday, April 4, 2011

Always something red out of Africa

Spectacular Brunsvigia orientalis growing in a dry field on a dirt road outside Stanford. When dessicated the skeleton is the South African version of tumbleweed. Makes good framework for an ad hoc candelabra, too. 

The last time I saw a brunsvigia was on the way to the farm Doornberg, outside Nieu Bethesda in the Karoo. We would like to go back to that Vleihuisie.

Grasshoperus horribilus. Otherwise known tamely as the common milkweed locust or Phymateus morbillosus.

And a paintbrush lily, Haemanthus sanguineus (I think; it could be H. coccineus, but apparently that has a spotted stem, and I see no spots - perhaps a lurking botanist could confirm?)...

Interestingly the brunsvigia and haemanthus were growing within feet of each other in the dry, sandy field (on the way to the American-owned Mosaic Farm and its wonderful milkwood groves), and the red locust was just a few hundred feet away. And this redhead was another few hundred feet away, in her borrowed house on stilts with her Frenchman and Simba the kind Zimbabwean, who takes care of the house while the owners are away. And the biggest swarm of mosquitoes it has ever been my privilege to hear, and to survive. Nightly they crowded against the insect screens, trying to push them in.

Clearly I'm working up to the main Stanford post. Water, birds, stillness, reflections. Perfect peace.*

Apart from the Night of the Swarm.

[* Never happened. Cannot write about Perfect Peace.]


  1. beautiful, beautiful I love red

  2. thanks thanks thanks again for sharing your south africa with us.

  3. So much to love about South African flora!

  4. S.A. has the best red, cept for our cardinal flower, lobelia watersedgeria ;)

    That's a serious hopper.

  5. Gorgeous plants. Such diversity!

  6. Hi Marie. I just came across a blog that confirms your Haemanthus ID - from the editor of Veld & Flora :)

  7. Thank you for the name on the milkweed locust Marie! They eat my plants, so i want to find out a bit more about them.


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