Colin Paterson-Jones - nature photography

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The Cape Flora

The southwestern tip of the African continent is the natural home of a unique and beautiful collection of plants known as the Cape Flora.  Here, in only 74000 square kilometers can be found over 9000 plant species of which some 70% grow naturally nowhere else in the world. Most of these plants grow in fynbos, a term that describes a vegetation characterised by Cape reeds (Restionaceae), members of the Protea Family (Proteaceae), heaths (Ericaceae) and a startling variety of bulbs. Many of the Cape’s flowers are especially lovely which is why some of them (the proteas, watsonias, freesias, sparaxis, ice flowers, crane flower and many more) are familiar to gardeners all over the world.


The rare Moraea tulbaghensis flowering in spring on Spitskop near the Berg River, Swartland, Western Cape, South Africa


A stand of the restio, Elegia stipularis, flowering in winter with some Euryops abrotanifolius and Leucadendron salignum in flower in fynbos on Slangkop with the Hout Bay mountains beyond, Cape Peninsula, South Africa


Euryops abrotanifolius flowering in winter in the Jonkershoek valley with the Cape fold mountains beyond, Western Cape, South Africa


Ursinia chrysanthemoides var. geyeri flowering in spring in arid fynbos in a valley on the Skurweberg above the Tanqua Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa


The brilliant blue flowers of the rare Nivenia stokoei, a woody Irid endemic to the Kogelberg, Western Cape, South Africa


Satin Flowers, Romulea subfistulosa, flowering in spring on the Roggeveld Escarpment, Northern Cape, South Africa


Restios, coloured red by summer drought, and a burnt skeleton of a female plant of Leucadendron laureolum with open cones in recently burnt fynbos on the southern Cape Peninsula, South Africa


The Small Candelabra Flower, Brunsvigia marginata, flowering in late summer on the top of Du Toits Kloof Pass, Western Cape, South Africa


Erica pillansii flowering in autumn amongst Leucadendron xanthoconus bushes in leaf, with Brunia albiflora and Erica perspicua flowering in montane fynbos in the Kogelberg mountains, Western Cape, South Africa


Erica massonii flowering in spring in the Kogelberg mountains, Western Cape, South Africa


The rare annual mesemb, Dorotheanthus booysenii, flowering in spring on the Roggeveld Escarpment west of Sutherland, Northern Cape, South Africa