Wondering what the little yellow flags under the palm trees lining St Francis Drive are? Well here is the answer!
Orchids, Satyrium princeps – marked with yellow flags on St Francis Drive verge.

Article by Godfried Potgieter

orchidsEvery year we at St Francis are treated to a splendid display of ground Orchids – “Satyrium princeps”. They are still found in various locations in the Village, but this year we are in for a bumper show under the palm trees along the grass verge between the golf course extension and St Francis Drive. In previous years there were only about 30 to 40 plants, but this year there are over one hundred!

After flowering the visible part of the plant dies back and the first sign of it again is in about July. It then produces two large, more or less circular, leaves about 8 to 10 cm in diameter. These leaves are pressed flat on the ground.

Then in about the third week in August, it starts to push up its flower which can reach 70 cm in height. At this stage, until the flowers have been pollinated and the seeds dispersed by the wind, the plant is in danger. The main problem being that they are mown down with the grass when the verge is mowed. This is the reason why the plants have been marked with yellow flags.

The good co-operation received from the municipal officials in the past is the main reason for the large number of plantsthis year. The assistance of the St Francis Bay Golf Club in ensuring that the verge is mowed at the correct times is also greatly appreciated.

orchids2The flowers in a dense raceme are numerous and are rose-pink to carmine – red in colour. These orchids occur fromWilderness to Port Elizabeth and are mainly found at three localities: Goukamma Nature Reserve, Cape Recife and the greater St. Francis area.

Enjoy our special plants as they put on a spectacular display for us all to enjoy.

If you would like to know more about our fantastic indigenous flora in the St. Francis area then come and ramble locally with The Fourcade Botanical Group on the last Friday of every month.

Contact Godfried 083 261 8604 or Caryl 083 529 5410 for details.

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