MOTHER NATURE’S MASTERPIECES

The orchid family is possibly, after the daisies, one of the most prolific plant families on Earth with around 30,000 species known. With their unmistakable mirror-image symmetry, orchids are easy to identify as a flower family, called Orchidaceae.

While most people think of orchids as the magnificent plants often kept at home, these are actually members of an exotic species that typically originate in tropical areas. Here in the Cape Floral Kingdom, we do have a number of very beautiful examples, such as the Disas, Satyrs and Ceratandra groups.

On Val de Vie Estate, we have so far identified five species found tucked away in the renosterveld areas, the most distinct being the golden satyr or rewwa-trewwa (Satyrium coriifolium) while the smelly satyr or ruiktrewwa (Satyrium odorum) and granny’s bonnet or moederkappie (Pterygodium orobranchoides) being a smaller and greener bloom are often overlooked. The cowled friar or mammakappie (Pterygodium catholcium) and the baby bonnet or babakappie (Dispersis villosa) are very small and relatively short flowering and so are also easy to miss.

The fact that our orchids are terrestrial and for most of our hotter months are not visible, and as many orchids only flower after a fire, there will certainly be others present that will only show once areas of the bio corridor are burned. In many species, pollination is highly specialised, with often only a single insect species adapted to perform this function.

Do try to find a little time to get out and about on the Estate for a walk or cycle and enjoy these miracles of Mother Nature first-hand.