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.

Erica irregularis flowering between Stanford and Gansbaai. Photo: Viv of Scenic South

Erica irregularis flowering between Stanford and Gansbaai. Photo: Viv of Scenic South

 

The plants were previously heavily harvested for export, but because of the vulnerability of the species they are no longer harvested.

 

Erica irregularis flowering between Stanford and Gansbaai. Photo: Viv of Scenic South

Erica irregularis flowering between Stanford and Gansbaai. Photo: Viv of Scenic South

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, Erica irregularis and blombos with Walker Bay in the background. Photo: Viv of Scenic South

Bietou, Erica irregularis and blombos with Walker Bay in the background.

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.