If you are lucky enough to have good timing and an adventurous spirit, you may just stumble across some of these hidden treasures of Maloti Mountains.
It is sometimes interesting to follow-up and find out the meaning of this long scientific tongue twisting names i.e. Hesperantha schelpeana
Hesperos - Evening
Anthos - Flowers
schelpeana - named after plant ecologist named E.A.C.L.E. Schelpe
Family – Iridaceae - Iris family
It has the similar flowers like the Crocus. It has flowers that are pinkish to white inside though sometimes very variable with completely white in side. The petals are purplish to reddish outside.
Distribution and habitat:
It is commonly found on shallow, seasonally wet grounds, mainly on the Eastern Maloti Range of Lesotho. The flowering plants are very short but prominent. They are growing amongst the completely dry background of high altitude flat laying grasses due to snow. As such it makes them to be realized easily from rest of the dry matter.
Others with flowers will be realized interestingly on the shallow basalt gravel as they protrude all of a sudden with their colorful purplish to white color. It occurs at an altitude of up to 30000 meter above sea level.
The following could be productive stopping spots: Bokong Nature Reserve, Mahlasela, Lets’eng la terae and Khalong la lithunya areas and all of these areas are above 3000masl.
Cultivation and Care:
It needs well prepared bed comprising of fine gravel and basalt mixed with well rotted fluffy compost. It can either be sewn from seed or small bulbs(corms).
Since they are very specialized high altitude plants they can be very sensitive if exposed to very high temperatures and poor drainage soils. It’s always better to clump them together in a garden or grown as pot plants for display each pot planted with 5, 10, or 15 plants.