Poker variations

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.

Photograph of red Kniphofia laxiflora

Kniphofia laxiflora by 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.

Photographs of orange and yellow forms of Kniphofia laxiflora

Kniphofia laxiflora colour forms

Photograph of vegetation near Park Rynie beach

Park Rynie beach

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.

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