The renowned orchid expert shared his knowledge with a mostly young group.
Doug McMurtry, one of South Africa’s leading orchid experts, kindly agreed to lead a field trip to Verloren Valei on 26 February 2022. Accompanied by fellow expert, Shane Burns, Doug drove up from Nelspruit to meet a group of mostly young and enthusiastic people eager to get out into the field.
Before that, Doug sketched a brief history of how the botanical riches of South Africa were explored, and urged the next generation to continue the work of understanding and protecting what is by any reckoning one of the most diverse floral kingdoms in the world.
The group then drove to the waterfall area where participants spread over the veld looking for plants and buttonholing Doug and Shane for help in identification. Although it was late in the season, there were still many specimens to be observed and, after all the rains, the veld was lush and green. The Lunsklip was running well as compared with the much lower volumes (to the eye) of water in December.
The wet summer of 2021-22 lived up to its name, with clouds beginning to build up from the south towards midday. We removed to the main wetlands on the provincial road and, bundled up in waterproofs, continued our search. By around 1400 people were starting to think about lunch and, for some, the trip back to Gauteng.
We are very grateful to Doug and Shane for giving up their time to share their knowledge with us. It’s trips like this that build up a group of Verloren Valei supporters.
Orchid list (courtesy of Doug McMurtry, Carel Fourie, Tystan Nadasen and Marthinus Vosloo)
Pterygodium nigrescens / dracomontanum
Satyrium hallackii subsp occellatum
Schizochilus cecilli subsp culveri
Other flora (courtesy of Trystan Nadasen):