Orchid Hunting at Barrydale – Day one

We set off with friends on Monday, full of enthusiasm for our trip to Barrydale, where we hoped to get access to the recently burnt sections of the Tradouw Pass in order to seek new orchids.  Our lunch stop at Swellendam was something of a let-down (literally) when Brent found he had a flat tyre and it took quite an effort to get it changed and repaired.

This meant a later-than-intended arrival at our accommodation, Bronze Grove farm, a delightful spot between the pass and Barrydale.  We did, however, stop near the pass summit and had a look at the roadside plants, of which the yellow Chinkerinchee  (Ornithogalum dubium)was the most abundant.  Also present were some Moraea ramosissima and Pterygodium catholicum, although the latter were somewhat past their best. It was too late once we arrived at the farm to do much more than settle in and make plans for our first day in the area.

On Tuesday morning we made our way into the pass and set off down the old road, where we started to see some interesting plants, although the area had not been burnt. Amongst them was a patch of Disa sagittalis, a new plant for all of us, so we were not disappointed.  The scenery along the river was spectacular and we wished we could access the burnt area on the other side, but we found no way across.  There were many other good species, but my lack of knowledge of the area precluded much in the way of identification.

In the afternoon we managed to get permission from a neighbouring farmer to walk on the burnt section of the his mountainside farm and had a good few hours exploring.  The veld was beautiful, with abundant, Moraeas (especially M angusta), Bobartias, Pelargoniums and Watsonias. We found dead Holothrix species and on or two Disa bracteata but no other orchids



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