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Flowers on Table Mountain: What’s blooming in August?

  • By Grant Wood
  • August 12 2011

During August, visitors to Table Mountain are treated to an exquisite array of flowers that show a spectrum of colour from purple to pink. The fountain bush, Cape scabious, granny bonnet, polygala, berry heath and the king protea (as well as many more) exemplify the beauty of the flora that blooms this month.

Fountain bush Psoralea pinnata

Photo courtesy <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-sf/3483378215/in/photostream/'>jim-sf</a> Photo courtesy jim-sf

The fountain bush (Psoralea pinnata) is part of the pea family. This exquisite flower, which has a white base that slowly ascends into a darker purple hue, is described as “an erect shrub, or small willowy tree, with a fairly barren stem”, according to Common Wildflowers of Table Mountain by Hugh Clarke and Bruce Mackenzie. The plant can grow up to 3m and flowers from August to February.

Cape scabious Scabiosa africana

Photo courtesy <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-sf/3565956545/in/photostream/'>jim-sf</a> Photo courtesy jim-sf

The Cape scabious (Scabiosa africana) boasts an explosion of tightly packed leaves, according to Common Wildflowers of Table Mountain. There is a single flower on each of the plethora of hidden stalks. Common Wildflowers describes it as “a lovely, tall branched perennial [and] its habitat is generally found on the eastern slopes in sheltered, bushy areas”. The plant flowers from August to March.

Granny bonnet Disperis capensis

Photo courtesy <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/joysaphine/2504331401/in/photostream/'>joysaphine</a> Photo courtesy joysaphine

The granny bonnet (Disperis capensis) is what is known as a geophyte. It is dark pink in colour and has a “well-defined hood and ‘horns’ at the top of a short, slender stem”. It is also interesting to note that this flower is only pollinated by carpenter bees, according to Common Wildflowers. This unique plant flowers from June to August.

Polygala Polygala bracteolata

Photo courtesy <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrpbps/2889019230/in/photostream/'>mrpbps</a> Photo courtesy mrpbps

The polygala (Polygala bracteolata) boasts a “pea-type, purple-pink and white flower with two pink wings and a white crested fringe; occurs on long pink flower stalks in crowded clusters towards top ends of branches. It is found on upper and lower slopes,” according to Common Wildflowers of Table Mountain. Another name for ploygala is senega, and it is used as a medical treatment. WebMD explains that it is used “to treat swelling (inflammation) of the throat, nose, and chest; for lung conditions including asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema; and for a rattlesnake bite”. The plant flowers from July to December.

Berry heath Erica baccans

Photo courtesy <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-sf/3320810649/in/photostream/'>jim-sf</a> Photo courtesy jim-sf

True to its name, the berry heath (Erica baccans) is a stunning, clustered shrub that displays soft pink colours. Common Wildflowers says that they “appear in profusion and [the] flowers are displayed in tightly packed groups of four”. This spectacular plant flowers from July to December.

King protea Protea cynaroides

Photo courtesy <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifijay/1565660573/in/photostream/'>ifijay</a> Photo courtesy ifijay

This is South Africa’s crowning glory. The king protea (Protea cynaroides) is one of the country’s national symbols and exhibits its famous “large, bowl-shaped, creamy-white centre, surrounded by long, pink to deep crimson spear-shaped ‘petals’ (bracts). It is found on upper slopes, usually in rocky areas,” according to Common Wildflowers. The protea can “take moisture in through its leaves. This works well where it grows [because] there isn’t much annual precipitation. It is said that protea leaves are also used to make tea,” according to Blue Planet Biomes. Our protea flowers from January to December.

More blooming lovely blogs


•  Flowers on Table Mountain: What’s blooming in July?
•  What’s flowering in May? The Ericas!
•  Photo essay: What’s flowering in May?
•  Red disa: From the Table Mountain Cableway Flickr group
•  From the Table Mountain Flickr Group: Red crassula’s ravishing colour
•  Photo essay: What’s flowering in October?
•  Photo essay: More beautiful blooms
•  Photo essay: What’s flowering in September?
•  Photo essay: What’s flowering in August?
•  From the Table Mountain Flickr Group: In bloom
•  Flowering in August: common paperflower
•  Photo essay: Yellow flower fever
•  Spring Splendour – harnessing flower power!

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