Some will consider September 1st as the first day of Spring and others September 22nd – either way, Spring has arrived here at Londolozi. While we are still awaiting the first rains, the early bloomers including the long-tailed cassia and knob thorn trees are gradually bringing back patches of yellow across the horizon. This familiar time of renewal and rejuvenation as the seasonal transformation unfolds, brings with it a vivid display of wildflowers. So in line with my previous blogs on the summer shades of green and in and amongst the autumn hues, I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to dive into the burst of colour and wonders of wildflowers that are on their way.
This time, however, instead of looking at how the flowers get their colours as discussed before, I decided to take a deeper look into their wisdom and why there is such a diverse array of colours and patterns.
A Lesson in Practicality
Wildflowers emerge as unassuming yet ingenious players in their approach to survival. Their wide-ranging colours serve as invitations to attract essential pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds. These pollinators, enticed by the promise of nectar, unwittingly become essential partners in the flower’s reproduction journey. A simple but effective technique that ensures the continuation of their species while offering a visual treat.
More than Meets the Eye – The Secret Language of Ultraviolet
In nature, there are often more secrets than meets the eye and wildflowers are no exception. Some flowers bear ultraviolet (UV) patterns that are invisible to us but appear as vivid trails to insects like bees. These patterns direct pollinators toward the flower’s core, where nectar awaits. It is a subtle and silent collaboration that ensures the continuation of life through the interconnected relationship between plants and their pollinators.
Amidst the bursts of colour, a remarkable adaptation emerges. Some flowers undergo a colour transformation as they age, indicating a shift in their role. Starting with soft, pale hues, they gradually deepen in colour, signalling their readiness for pollination, and once at their darkest stage, indicating that they have already been pollinated. This clever adjustment helps conserve the plant’s energy and resources for other essential processes and showcases nature’s timeless cycles.
Masters of Disguise
While bold and vibrant colours are the stars of the show, some wildflowers have mastered the art of blending in. They blend harmoniously with their surroundings, to avoid attention from both herbivores and humans alike. The strategy is simple yet effective – stay inconspicuous to avoid becoming a target.
Thriving Against Odds
With the diversity in the landscape across Londolozi, the flowers represent adaptability and resilience. Flowers with light petals such as the Impala Lily (Adenium multiflorum), with white between the pink assist in reducing heat absorption and helping them conserve water during the harsher winters. Although not a spring bloomer, it is just another showcase of nature’s ability to thrive amongst adversity.
While there are many splendours with the arrival of Spring here at Londolozi, the wildflowers celebrate the resurgence of life in their own understated way. Amidst the beauty of the wild, they remind us of the beauty in simplicity. As you explore Londolozi during this season, take a moment to embrace this unassuming and quiet beauty and profound wonders resonating from these flowers.