Exquisite Erica irregularis, bietou and Metalasia swathe the landscape between Stanford and GansbaaiMichele King August 6, 2014 No Comments
The mountains slopes on the road between Stanford and Gansbaai are swathed in the delicate pink of the flowering Erica irregularis, endemic only to this area. They grow on alkaline sands and limestone.
The plants were previously heavily harvested for export, but because of the vulnerability of the species they are no longer harvested.
The backdrop of Walker Bay and the complementing colours of the brilliant yellow bietou flowers and the pompom white flowers of the blombos add to the beauty of the landscape.
Bietou (Osteospermum rotundifolium) are pioneer shrubs that live for up to 10 years. They grow easily and rapidly in spacious sunny positions and well-drained soil. Birds love their berries. The Khoi and San also used the berries as food and the ash of the leaves and stems to make soap. Bietou flower between March and September.
The blombos in the photo is Metalasia muricata which flowers between May and September. It grows in coastal sand and limestone from Ysterfontein to the Transkei. It and the similar Metalasia densa are widely used in the cut-flower industry.
Information derived from Field Guide to the Flora of Grootbos Nature Reserve and the Walker Bay region by Sean Privett and Heiner Lutzeyer.