Winter time is not as cold, dull and boring as people may think. With the warmth of these bright oranges and reds scattered across the bushveld and all the beautiful insects and colourful birds that accompany these beauties, it’s actually a time of visual feast!
Amongst flashes of brilliant orange come the florescent greens, reds and blues of the many different species of Sunbird found in the Eastern Cape: Malachite, Greater double-collared, Southern double-collared, Collared and the greenish-purple iridescent Amethyst Sunbird. These gorgeously colourful little birds can be seen visiting the Aloe flowers and are a crucial part in pollination of these plants.
On the Reserve, Aloe ferox (Bitter Aloe) and Aloe pluridens (French Aloe) are currently both flowering with long inflorescent spikes densely covered in brilliant flowers. Aloes have been used for jams and ‘living fences’ but are better known for their medicinal value and health benefits. Skin care, purgative and dietary products are commonly found in any Pharmacy stocking natural options.
As Aloes are easily propagated – why not grow one in your own garden and help boost a bee, Sunbird or other species with a winter treat of delicious nectar or a juicy insect!
Photo Credit: Chris Ovens