Summer has arrived and over the past few weeks, we have almost totalled 330mm of rain for the season so far. With the beauty of the awaited rains, here at Londolozi, we get to experience the beginnings of many forms of life on the reserve. The impala lambs, wildebeest calves, warthog piglets and the summer migrants have all returned and flourished throughout the continuously greening Londolozi.
Another arrival with the summer rains, which I believe to an extent is quite overlooked, is the beautiful array of bushveld wildflowers. The evolved landscape is now, when carefully observed, covered in a dotted ocean of beautiful shapes and colours of the Lowveld’s flowers. These delicate flowers will scatter themselves over the rolling hills and thick riverine areas right until late February early March.
In the Lowveld of South Africa, there are said to be 4674 species of wildflowers, that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. At Londolozi, there are many different flowers you may come across during your stay, I am not going to go into all of them as this blog would never end, so I’d like to briefly show a few of the favourites. These flowers are some of the most common at Londolozi and ones which will definitely catch your eye.
Bloodlily (Scadoxus multiflorus) is also known as Fireball lily.
The Bloodlily is strongly toxic and was traditionally used in medicines as well as arrow and fish poisons. This wildflower will easily catch your eye whilst out on safari. Some grow twice the size of a tennis ball.
Morning Glory (Ipomoea crassipes)
The Morning Glory flower is one of the more common ones here at Londolozi. As the name suggests, most morning glory flowers unfurl into full bloom in the early morning. These flowers are edible, however, you do have to be very careful that you don’t consume the seeds (the seeds are said to consist of hallucinogenic compounds).
Wild Hibiscus (Hibiscus engleri)
A beautiful flower that contains an attractive fragrance. There are more than 50 species of hibiscus in South Africa occurring in a range of habitats. They are very attractive for a vast array of insects including butterflies and bees that in turn, attract birds that will prey on the insects.
Lions Eye (Tricliceras lacerated)
The Lions Eye is by far one of my favourite of all the flowers. The striking orange colour is hard to miss. They begin to appear just as the rains start to arrive, sometimes standing out in the still, harsh winter environment and will be seen throughout the entire summer.
Blue Commelina (Commelina erecta)
The Blue Commelina grows very well in wet sandy soils or during good rainfall seasons, meaning that over the last two years we have seen them in abundance throughout the reserve. They are believed to have very many uses from a poultice, to reducing high blood pressure. It is used by the Sotho for treating barren women. For burns, sore throats, sore eyes, dysentery, rashes and leprosy within many different cultures.
Wild Fox Glove (Ceratotheca triloba)
A male lion resting amongst a forest of Wild Fox Glove flowers. These flowers start to stand out more and more into the summer. As the grass grows taller so do these purple, blue plants. These flowers along with wild animals can contribute to creating a magnificent scene.
String of Stars (Heliotropium nelsonii)
A beautiful white flower that covers open crests. When driving along the open crests, these flowers may look like an array of stars scattered along the savannah. They also contain an alkaloid toxin that the African Monarch Butterfly feeds on to then synthesize courtship pheromones vital in incapacitating the female butterfly allowing him to mate.
Poison Apple or Devils Apple (Solanum Linnaeanum)
This plant is a poisonous species and not related to true apples. The apple-like fruit produced from the flower is not consumed by most fauna. Traditional Zulu practices use the fruit (when fresh, boiled or charred) in herbal medicine to treat a wide variety of afflictions, including cancer, toothaches and ringworm.
Keep a look out for a few of these during your stay with us throughout the summer months.
Filed under General Nature Life Wilderness teachings
You took me by surprise with this edition Dan, these flowers are magnificent and lovely framework besides being so useful for life! Do you know where the Wild Fox Glove got its name from?
Flowers as part of the ecological system are easily overlooked, thanks for showing some of your favorites. Everything is truly a part of the whole world we live in. Thank you Dan.
thank you for the name of the flowers !
Tanks for this gallery of wild flowers. They are all so beautiful.
Great description of some of the flowers. I love that magnificent cheetah photo!
Very unique, interesting and cool post Dan!! After reading the first paragraph, my initial thought was “I hope he tells about how the wildlife and indigenous people use them.” Et voila!!!! You did not disappoint, and the photos in various contexts were stunning!!
The wild flowers are gorgeous at Londolozi ! I love the blue one we call plumbago I have pots of it on my balcony. I don’t know the names of the others but they are all beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Victoria
Thank you Dan for the information on some of the flora in the bushveld. It’s good to learn the names of some of the more common flowers, and their inherent medicinal properties.
Dan very interesting blog and the wild flowers are so beautiful in colour. Loved the lion,leopard and rhino foto’s with the wild flowers in the back ground. Good to know that some of them can be used for medical purposes. I’m sure it is amazing to see these flowers in bloom and up close. All the Impala lambs, wildebeest calves and piglets must be a gorgeous sight.
Super article, many thanks for a differing view of the flora not the fauna
Enjoyed the description of the lowveld flowers. Reminds me of prairie flowers here in the US. And I especially enjoyed the picture of warthog piglets! I remember driving through the bush when I was doing fieldwork and having a mother warthog with three piglets run right across the path in front of my field vehicle. Such amazing animals.
Wonderful photos and descriptions of some of your favorite wild flowers at Londo Dan! Being a great fan of wild flowers myself, I really enjoyed your blog. thanks 👌🏻💕
Such outstanding photos and information. Thank you.