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Ericaceae

At the bottom of a hidden gorge, alongside a stream at the back of our farm, I came across this ancient tree. When I stepped closer for a better look I discovered that it was really an erica! I took a picture of the wilted flowers in the hope of identifying the species later.

Ted Oliver of the Compton Herbarium, National Botanical Institute in Kirstenbosch very kindly identified this erica as Erica Caffra.

Erica caffra is nearly always found alongside streams from the Peninsula to the Niewoudtville Escarpment and eastwards as far as the Natal south coast, even near Aliwal North. You will see old woody plants growing on the islands just above the Union Ave./Edinburgh Drive traffic lights. It is the only erica species that reaches tree proportions.

Erica cerinthoides

This erica is also known as the 'Fiery Heath' and is most prevalent after a fire.