Sunday was a day for staying at home. That’s – in Hermanus. I opted for a walk on the Hermanus Cliff Path and decided to make it educational rather than recreational. Although I love fynbos and can never resist a pincushion or king protea I am not great with the identification of the fynbos species of the Cape Whale Coast.
The challenge for #TourismForAll Day 4 was to exercise while identifying the indigenous plants on the Cliff Path. This remains in line with Tourism Month’s objective of exploring the hidden gems in close proximity. The Cliff Path meanders for 12 kilometers. I managed a 5 kilometer circular route starting from Dutchies at Grotto Beach. There are many plants to discover and I list those that stood out for me.
- Old camphor bushes growing over a small waterfall. The scent is distinctive and there were no flowers as the plant only flowers from December to May. The camphor bush has medicinal uses and apparently benefits dental hygiene. An old camphor stem twirling over a stream shown in my photo.
- Although not endangered the White milkwood tree is protected and it is illegal to damage them. There are many milkwoods on the Cliff Path and it was interesting to see how tall they grow and how close to the shoreline they survive. They serve as an effective firebreak because of their thick canopy of milky leaves that prevents the fire from reaching the hard stems.
- The aromatic white confetti bush was in full flower and I learnt that fishermen would use this plant to remove the smell of bait from their hands. A pretty, small flower that withstands the wind and grows without much trouble at the sea.
- Cape daisies galore. These spring flowers were dotted all along the coastal walk. There are 35 species of African or Cape daisies in southern Africa and whenever I see a field of daisies I think of the family photographs taken when I was little – every year in a different patch of white or yellow daisies. Great memories.
- With the many water streams running down to the sea the presence of Psoralea pinnata (silent P) or “fountain bush” was a given. True to its name this plant likes to grow in wet areas. It is a small tree with blue pea-shaped flowers which was in early bloom. They are supposed to flower from October to December. The fountain bush had an arum lily growing in its shade. I came accross many more arums and it was intersting to read that arums were tradionally used in wedding bouquets.
- Bright orange and red nasturtiums right close to the beach. I read that these are one of the most useful plants to have in a garden. Besides being pretty, the flowers are edible and attracts pollinating insects.
- There are more species of ferns than there are of fynbos and the path had many low growing ferns close to water streams.
- Monkey Rope was most interesting as the name is self-explanatory. It looks like Tarzan left his ropes behind. This plant is also called forest grape and the stem winds around other plants giving the impression that it is strangling the plant.
Part of Fernkloof Nature Reserve the Cliff Path links the mountain with the coastline. The reserve will be 70 years old next year and hosts a Flower Show from 22 till 25 September 2016. If you have any comment or information to improve on my limited plant knowledge I look forward to receiving you response. #TourismForAll