Roots 'n' Shoots: Backyard Bushveld Safari

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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.
Spikelily
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.
Syringa
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.
Tumbleweed
Boophane disticha
Tumbleweed
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.
Blackjack
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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4 comments:

  1. Hi, Thanks for all the interesting information. I hope you can help me. I am trying to determine the name of the thorny bushy plant with the brown berries in the last photo of this blog. I live in the country and these plants are taking over big patches of veld. I am trying to find a way of controlling them. Your help will be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loaded these pictures on the Project Noah with the hopes of a plant expert identifying them, but to no avail. I would venture a guess that it is some kind of Carissa species; perhaps a wild relative to the Natal plum or Num num - perhaps even a feral num num! I cannot be sure as I have not seen the plant in bloom (so if it has flowers reminiscent of jasmine it is more likely to be Carissa sp.) and I won't recommend a taste-test of the fruit either!

    To my knowledge they have a fairly shallow root system and should not regrow once removed. But birds love these fruits and the plant can spread easily through the seeds left by bird droppings and may pose some problems for control. Carissa spp. are native to Africa/South Africa if you are concerned of their invasive status.

    I will add here a link to the Wikipedia page for Carissa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carissa and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carissa_macrocarpa

    Hope that helps!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The pink/purple flowering bulb with the spiky leaves in the autumn beauties section (the picture on the right) is a watsonia plant, we used to get them from the fields on our small holding(many years ago) and planted them in drifts and gardens. In Port Elizabeth they usually flower from spring to summer( ours always flowered during summer (pure white, purple and many shades of salmon)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey hey! Thanx for the assistance with identifying the plant! Our bushveld only sports the pink version won't mind more of these in the veld they are very pretty.

    ReplyDelete

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