25 August 2009

Pink proteas

A Sunday walk up Swartkop mountain above Seaforth took us through the spectacular stand of the rare and endemic Swartkop Spiderhead, Serruria hirsuta.

These beautiful pink serrurias only grow here and nowhere else in the world!

We also saw some wonderful deep-pink specimens of the Black-bearded Protea, Protea lepidocarpodendron in amongst the normal cream-coloured ones. According to Tony Rebelo, this is a recessive gene, like blue or brown eyes in humans, except that in Protea lepidocarpodendron being pink is relatively rare, whereas in Protea neriifolia and Protea laurifolia, and in fact most proteas, it is far more common, and the paler forms are usually rarer.

This is Force, a collared adult male in the Smitswinkel baboon troop, eating parts of Protea lepidocarpodendron at Blockhouse Gap below Swartkop. Photograph by Alice Notten of Kirstenbosch.

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