Namaqualand in the spring is truly an amazing sight. There are hundreds of closely related species of several large families of plants all synchronizing their bloom time to capitalize on the soil moisture and warm temperatures.
The ubiquitous Namaqualand Daisy creates a carpet of flowers so dense you can hardly see the soil between them. They start to close up late in the day as the sun dims and the temperatures fall, as in this scene from the National Park near Skilpad.
Gazanias and ice plants (mesembryanthemum) are two of the most common plants on display.
Strangely, there are few to no bees present, despite all these flowers. Instead the flowers are full of small to large beetles which may tolerate the harsh summer conditions better. Monkey beetles devour the pollen and decimate the flowers, so it’s not clear whether they really are pollinators.
Delicate Iris poke their fragile stems above the coarse, sandy soil. In other sites, they too formed a dense carpet of blooms.
Butterflies are few and far between in this sea of flowers. So many plants to choose from…