Roots 'n' Shoots: Backyard Bushveld Safari

Why is RnS Moving to

Google had brought out an algorithm update in May 2017. With previous updates like Panda or Penguin, Mr G had penalized blogs or websites with low quality content and those more focused on aggressive adverts (including multiple ads or pop-up ads in articles). However, many blogs/websites that weren't shady got penalized beyond recovery too and a lot of people lost their income. The May 2017 update has had wide-scale effect on blogs and websites, but without any explanation from Mr G as to why or what it does. RnS has been hit by it too and hard. RnS organic search stats (i.e. users from Google) have dropped by 75% since. Even though RnS is not a source of income, I tried to figure out why RnS is being culled. It seems that it doesn't really have anything to do with RnS per se, but likely because RnS is FREE and not paying for page ranking (via AdWords or Ad Ranking). Now it is likely being aggressively shoved to lower page rankings to accommodate the paid ads.

I cannot rely on Mr G anymore to get RnS' content where it is needed. So I am busy moving RnS to Wordpress where you can find me as Whisker Flowers @

I am also imposing 301 redirects from already moved posts and pages!

- The Shroom - (AKA Whisker Flowers)

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Backyard Bushveld Safari

We live on a property that is based on an old agricultural small holding. It is roughly 1 hand about 2/3 of the plot is bushveld. So we have a walkabout each spring and summer to check on what happening in the veld. I took some pictures of the interesting plants and tried to ID most of them. So join me for a backyard bushveld safari - unfortunately, no lions though!

Backyard Bushveld in Spring (October)
The area above is what you see after passing the pumpkin patch, the compost heaps and the alfalfa plantation for the chickens. Most of the plants in the bushveld are native and traditionally used for their medicinal purposes.

 The African star grass belongs to the Hypoxidaceae family, which seems to be related to Asparagus.
African Star Grass
Hypoxis hemerocallidea

No common name for this one, but it is also a member of the Asparagaceae family.
Chlorophytum bowkeri

We have several common sugar bushed (Proteas) that put on a wonderful display each year, here are a couple of photos showing there different flowering stages
Common sugarbush
Protea caffra

A scary looking beetle helping itself to the nectar of the sugar bush
Hooked winged net winged beetle
Lycus melanurus

I did not expect to find any ferns in the veld, seeing as they prefer moist habitats. This one is drought tolerant and can be used for xeriscaping. Ecklon's lip fern belongs to the Adiantaceae fern family.
Ecklon's Lip Fern
Cheilanthes eckloniona

Everlastings are members of the Asteraceae (Daisy & Sunflower) family and is of high ornamental value as dried flowers in displays.
Everlasting species
Helichrysum pilosellum

Another member of the Asteraceae family. Gazania, like Gerberas, are native to South Africa and have the same showy display with colours of yellow and orange.
Gazania species
Gazania krebsiana

I think that this is a fairly common Gerbera to come across in SA bushvelds. A member of the Asteraceae family with many species and colours of white, pink, red, yellow, orange and purples.
Pink and white Gerbera
Gerbera ambigua

Both of these plant belong to the Solanaceae family, with the poison apple in the same genus (Solanum) as tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, nightshade and peppers. The spiky poison apple (or gifappeltjie in Afrikaans) is often confused with the Cape Gooseberry (note different genus, Physalis), where the former is very poisonous and the later is edible. The Gooseberries appeared in 2012 and made a large stand in the veld - their berries didn't ripen properly, so none for us L.
Poison apple
Solanum panduriforme
Cape gooseberry
Physalis peruviana

Nothing much is known about this group of flowering plants, but they do have pretty flowers. They belong to the Colchicaceae family of lilies.
Wurmbea spicata

The Syringa (Oleaceae family) is a highly invasive species. It has been removed since the photo was taken as it was sending roots into the pumpkin patch.
Melia azederach

This is the showiest of the veld flowers. This is a poisonous bulb of the Amaryllidaceae family (Alliums) and has lovely fan-like leaves.
Boophane disticha
Boophane disticha

Tumbleweed fan
Boophane disticha

I am going to dump a bunch of photos here, because I can't seem to ID them as my ID booklet is limited :)

I have know idea what this is, but the insects (especially
the bees) are crazy about the flowers. Will see if I can
propagate some for myself.

I think I have seen some of these as bright red
additions to cut flowers.

Here are a few more plants and critters I came across later in the season (March).

Bushveld in Autumn

Wild African Cucumber species. Very spiky and horridly bitter!!!
African Horned cucumber vine
Cucumis species

African lantana species, which have edible ripe berries (green ones are mildly poisonous).
African Lantana species

A serious weed and the bane of all bush walks, the Blackjack, Bidens species.
Bidens species

Cute bright yellow butterfly...
Broad bordered Grass Yellow butterfly
Eurema brigitta

The Chickens chilling in the brush

Wild Amaranth
Amaranthus species

Again, another unknown dump of Autumn beauties:

That's the end of our backyard bushveld safari! Hope you enjoyed the journey through some of the native plants of South Africa. If you would like to see more of our native wildlife, check out My Profile @ Project Noah!

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