By Rod Prodgers – The Table Mountain National Park is a treasure trove of wildflowers. Some of them are endangered, and those of us who enjoy nature and the outdoors while hiking the multiple paths in the park, get to experience these wonders of our floral kingdom.
Currently, three of our disa orchids are in bloom and they can be found without any difficulty along some of the routes. These plants generally flower between mid-January and the end of March.
The Disa Uniflora (Red Disa, in the picture above) is best viewed on the Back Table on the main feeder stream in the catchment area of the Hely Hutchinson Reservoir. This section is known as the “Backwater Stream Ravine”, and can be reached via the small path opposite the Water Works Museum.
Disa Ferruginea (Orange Cluster Disa, below) is quite common and can very easily be found along the Bridle Path at the moist slope, just below the bridge at Splihaus Ravine. They are also in abundance on the Top Table as well.
Please take special care when identifying this flower, since the Tritoniopisis Triticea (Summer Snowflake Iris) is also in bloom at the moment, and the two are often mistaken.
A very good reference to have is a book called Common Wild Flowers of Table Mountain & Silvermine by Hugh Clarke, Bruce Mackenzie and Corinne Merry. Please click here for more information about this very useful book, as it is quite easy to follow since the flowers are referenced in colours sequence for quick identification in the field.
Please enjoy your hikes on Table Mountain by taking some time out to observe and marvel at the natural beauty and wildflowers that we so often take for granted. Be out and be safe.