This year’s spectacular displays of spring wild flowers have
come and gone in many parts of the Cape and along the West Coast. But
delicate petals of delightful colours are still showing off in Cape
Bokbaai vygies (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis) Photograph by Fran Siebrits
Flowers spend many months each year conserving energy. Once the worst of
the winter rains are over in the south-western Cape and along the West
Coast, spring wild flowers celebrate their survival with displays of
Towards the end of September, most of the flowers have exhausted
themselves partying and retire with a more conservative hue. But for
reasons known only to nature, the coastal paths in the Cape of Good Hope
are still celebrating with colourfully-clad flora.
The common usage of the word ‘daisy’ incorporates many flowers which
have a daisy-like look. Botanically, these plants can be very different.
The same applies to the much-loved mesembs or vygies. Although similar
at a glance, a more thorough examination will disclose a variety of
completely different plants.
However, having clarified this point of confusion, all spring flowers bloom with an elegance of colourful magic, whether it’s a vygie,
a felicia, a gazania or simply a daisy. The showcase of diversity in
Cape Point includes many different floral species in many different
shapes and colours.
The best way to join the party of colour is on foot. Cape Point
offers a variety of trails, all of which are family friendly. Being a
peninsula park flirting with False Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, there are
mainly coastal trails on or near the beach. The sandy soils lining the
paths are the perfect mixture of minerals and nutrients for the spring
flowers which are currently celebrating their colourful petals.
Because of their dazzling displays of bright colour, vygies are often the life of spring parties. Bokbaai vygies (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis) are most prolific around the Darling area, but occur in many other parts of the Cape. Like all vygies,
they have adapted to grown in the harsh, hot and sandy conditions of
their preferred environment. The outer layers of their leaves carry tiny
water sacks; succulent leaves are key to survival of the
delicate-looking bokbaai vygie.
The large individual blooms of sour figs (Carpobrotus spp.)
have a somewhat scruffy appearance, but one that catches the eye
nevertheless. They serve as a good source of nutrients; buck and baboons
can often be seen amongst the flat growth-form having a snack. The
succulent leaves of these coast-loving plants have an antiseptic
property and can be used to soothe blue-bottle stings as well as
Sour fig (Carpobrotus edulis) Photograph by Fran Siebrits
Other colourful spring plants still flowering in the park include Osteospermum spp., Dimorphotheca spp., Acmadenia spp., Gazania spp., Senecio spp., Oxalis spp., Polygala spp. and Podalyria spp.
Unfortunately, spring beauty doesn’t last forever. Snatch up this
last opportunity to make your way to Cape Point and celebrate colour
with the wild flowers. The Shipwreck Trail from Olifantsbos is a gentle
meander on and near the beach, with colourful flowers guiding the path
throughout its coastal circuit.