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VeldTalk Article: Hunt The Flower
From an Article by VeldTalk
Hunt the flower
"I wish I could find the orchid," says Paris wistfully having ticked off no less than 20 veld flowers on her "treasure" list already. Three young treasure hunters had spent the morning alternately leaping from rock to rock, and with their heads buried in reference books comparing a specimen to the details in the book.
Antoinette Eyssell, leading the Grass and Wild Flower Walk with Alan Short, said it was encouraging to see young people looking closely at plants and noticing differences in the shape and arrangement of the leaves. This was necessary to identify the flowers they encountered in the veld.
The walk started at the Sheds at Birdsong where Jenny Cornish hosts most of the Walks. This was a rare occassion for Jenny too as she joined in - and completed - the walk.
Antoinette was keen to find succulents. Two remarkable euphorbias caught her eye. The flowers are tiny, and easily overlooked for more showy blooms. A close inspection of the minute flowers reveals a detailed and and structured elegance.
Showy blooms included the wild hibiscus and the bright yellow star-shaped flowers of the different African potato species.
Alan got his hands dirty explaining the benefits of nitrogen fixing plants in the veld. These range from wild sweet peas to large Acacia trees (oops, is it Vachelia or Sengalia). "It is not the flowering plants as such which enrich the soil with nitrogen, but rather the millions of bacteria which attach to the roots," said Alan while searching for a good example.
The Reid girls who live on Monaghan Farm received small prizes awarded with enthusiasm and headed home to find a suitable corner in the garden to plant some wildflower seeds.