November is the new Pink
In this floral wonderland that is currently my home I notice temporal patterns in the colours of the flowers. In mid-summer we have a predominance of red flowers and this is certainly correlated with the emergence of the Mountain Pride Butterfly (Aeropetes tulbaghia), which is attracted to the colour red.
Right now as we pass from Spring into Summer I see the hills covered in beautiful flowers, with a definite preponderance of the colour PINK (or variations thereof – Cerise, Rose, Fuchsia, Magenta, Lavender). I went for a short walk this evening in the hills close to my home and took photographs of the flowers which I saw.
Taking pride of place is one of my favourite Orchids, Satyrium carneum:
Since the flowers are clustered in a raceme many people do not recognise this lovely plant as an orchid but closer inspection reveals the classic orchid features of the flowers:
At present the hills are festooned with the flowers of Pelargonium cucullatum. The leaves of these flowers are delectably scented and although most people call them Geraniums, they are actually Pelargoniums (a genus completely restricted to South Africa). The genus was first introduced into cultivation in Holland before 1600.
I also saw the close cousin of this plant – Pelargonium capitatum, the rose scented Pelargonium. This plant is used to obtain the essential oil and is also used medicinally for skin conditions.
One of the highlights at this time of year is the emergence of the Watsonias. There are only 52 beautiful members of this genus in the Iris family and every one of them is found in South Africa!.
There were even Gladioli out there today. I am always amazed at how such delicate flowers survive the harsh Cape summers. Today was a perfect example because the wind was blowing very strongly and whipping the flowers around, but did not seem to have a deleterious effect on the Gladiolus carneus.
There were even ice plants in flower that had pink/lavender coloured flowers. Unfortunately they had closed already but their colours can clearly be seen. I suggest that these are from the genus Lampranthus, although taxonomically this is a very confusing group.
Even the diminutive Silky Puff Proteas (Diastella divericata) which are flowering now are pink!
And finally – the exquisite Romulea atandra (or that Romulea cruciata?)
So what do you think? Is it simply coincidence that there are so many Pink/Magenta/Lavender/Fuschia/Cerise flowers at this time of year? Or is there a reason?