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Orchids Archives - Walk in Africa
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23 Feb

Botanic, photographic, erotic

I am unashamedly crazy about orchids - especially indigenous South African Orchids. Anyone who has walked with me on Table Mountain when the conspicuous orchids are flowering will attest to this. Now is the time when the Red Disa (Disa uniflora) flowers and every year I make at least a few pilgrimages in order to see this magnificent flower.   For thousands of years humans have associated orchid flowers with sexuality. In fact the name "orchid" derives from the Greek word "orkhis" which means a testicle. As long ago as 2,014 years...

3 Mar

Lies & deception in the plant world

Last week on another platform I promised to tell an intriguing story about  that beautiful Disa ferruginea (The Cluster Disa). The story is set in the Western Cape amongst the fynbos. This area is characterised by soils that are low in nutrients. An important character in this story is the Pride of Table Mountain (Aeropetes tulbaghia), a strong flying butterfly that is obsessed with the colour red. In its search for food this butterfly is attracted to the red flowers of Tritoniospis triticea (Mountain Pipes) from which it obtains a reward...

24 Feb

Surprises with the Norwegians

I went walking on Table Mountain with Elin from Get Africa Travel and some of her friends.   I promised them a surprise (overraskelse), but even I was surprised by the unexpected surprises! First we saw our National Flower Protea cynaroides and Elin looked very surprised.   Then we saw Disa graminifolia, the Blue Disa . . . and I was ecstatic. These flowers make me so happy.   And then we were surprised by yet another orchid from the genus Disa - Disa ferruginea, the cluster disa.   And finally we saw the surprise that I had promised...

27 Jan

The very best job in the world

Recently I guided a fantastic walk up Table Mountain with a group of Swedes. It was great fun to be with them because they were energetic and enthusiastic. They all work in the wine industry in a wonderful country so I thought they had a pretty good work life. I was therefore a little taken aback when at our lunch-stop, someone said to me "Wow! You have the very best job in the world". And as the day wore-on and we were treated to the sight of the very first Disa uniflora...

11 Nov

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...

6 Oct

Half man, half goat – entirely flower

The Cape Peninsula is home to an astonishing number of indigenous plant species. It is believed that there are approximately 2,285 species on The Peninsula. Amongst this ridiculously large diversity of plants are over 100 species of orchids. Right now is the time for the members of the genus Satyrium. This genus is named after the mythological hedonistic Greek creature the Satyr, because it too has two horns in the form of spurs on the lip of the flower. Unlike the classic ostentatious flower that most people associate with orchids, the...