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Having got this far, we drove a bit farther (3.1 km from the crossroads) following the N 14 heading east (S2709) and left the car, out of sight, by the side of the road.  The low hill that we explored provided images of 11 taxa, but sadly no newbies to add to my ‘taxa seen in habitat list’. I forget if we had come here in search of a particular newbie for the list, in which case, we failed to find it. Of course any of the taxa only identified as ‘sp’ could be new for me. This Avonia quinaria ssp quinaria received my ‘best plant at Stop’ award.

S2709 - Avonia quinaria ssp quinaria

S2709 – Avonia quinaria ssp quinaria

S2710 was for the entrance of the track to the Gamsberg, an area where in the past some very nice succulents have been found. Back in the UK, I believe Rodney Sims and Terry Smales had reported that this area was in danger due to development for mining. These signs now referred to the Gamsberg Mining Area and warned that unauthorised entrance was now prohibited.

Another notice announced an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the proposed Construction of the Gamsberg Zinc Mine and Associated Infrastructure near Aggeneys. We had already seen the impact of mining by Black Mountain Mining near Aggeneys where it was impossible to enter to explore for plants. This is a very remote and hardly populated area, so I guess that there will be little public opposition. I wonder who will speak up for the plants! We have seen similar developments along the head of the Huasco River in Chile, on the border with Argentina. The Big Bucks from the mining companies seem to override the voices of concern from local people and nature conservation organisations. Shame!

There were no plants to photograph here.

We took the next turn off the N14, with less forceful signs on display and stopped at a convenient quartz patch (S2711). Here I photographed another two stemless Mesembs, one that I had never heard of and one that I have grown and killed back home; which is which?

S2711 - Lithops olivacea

S2711 – Lithops olivacea

S2711 - Dinteranthus microspermus var puberulus

S2711 – Dinteranthus microspermus var puberulus

Yes, correct, I had never heard of Dinteranthus microspermus.

We saw it again at the next stop, S2712.

S2712 - Dinteranthus microspermus var puberulus

S2712 – Dinteranthus microspermus var puberulus

Since posting today’s report, I also posted the two images of Dinteranthus puberulus on iSpot and learned that the plant photographed at S2712 might actually be Ihlenfeldtia vanzylii (synonym Cheiridopsis vanzylii). So more investigation required – as I have never heard of the Genus Ihlenfeldtia. Fortunately there are only two species in the genus, this one and I. excavata. The bad news is that ity closely resembles plants in the genus Cheiridopsis that has some 100 species – Ihlenfeldtia used to be in Cheiridopsis, so quite a challenge awaits. I’m focussing on completing the Diaries for now and hope to get to this one in weeks to come. In the mean time, feel free to leave a comment here.

Back in Springbok, we were welcomed with open arms at the Tauren Steakhouse, yum, yum!

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