One of the early Spring jewels in the CVC is this stunning Hesperantha schelpeana.
Currently in flower along the Mallen Walk, it, together with Hesperantha baurii are two plants endemic (only found here) to the Drakensberg and surrounds. The latter species is taller, with larger flowers and is usually found in wet places.
The name Hesperantha comes from the Greek Hesper – evening and anthos- flower. Other members of this group flower in the evenings. Our two species are named after Prof Ted Schelpe, a botanist and Rev. L. Baur an early missionary.
Hesperantha are bulbs with corms like Gladiolus and the sword-like leaves often appear after the flowers. The CVC population also has a rare white-flowered form.
Reference: Pooley’s Mountain Flowers, page 186. The image of H. schelpeana in that book differs slightly from those in the CVC.
Photos: Joan Keyter