Yesterday was an exhilarating day except for the lack of pokers: a good long walk, many beautiful flowers and the tension of trying to out run a thunderstorm. It had felt worthwhile because I had come across one poker right at the furthest extreme of the walk. However, that feeling was rapidly taken away today, for within a few kilometres of leaving the rustic charm of Pear Tree Cottage, I came across exactly the same species, K. laxiflora, growing by the roadside.
It is a very variable species, and as I drove on I came across at least two more colour forms. They were once again the only poker I saw all day, only this time it had not taken quite so much effort. K. laxiflora has a very graceful habit and it is surprising that this has not been bred into more cultivated pokers. The tall slender spikes with space between the flowers would be a very useful addition to the range of variation in the cultivars.
I did try to find another poker. I had been given very accurate instructions on where to find K. littoralis at the seaside town of Park Rynie. I found the spot just as described but either the plants had gone or the vegetation was so overgrown that I could not find them. Unfortunately, it was not the time of the year for them to be flowering, which would have made spotting them a whole lot easier.
At least now I have arrived at Durban and will be assisted in my poker hunting over the next two days by two experts on all matters pokerish: Dr Syd Ramdhani and Prof. Himansu Baijnath. Even if the plants are not flowering, we should be able to find the plants with their knowledge.