Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Quiver Tree Forest

I've just returned from a trip to South Africa, where I took part in a botanical tour of the Western Cape. The abundance of flowers at the time of year is remarkable, but so too were the structure and textures of the many plants that were not yet in bloom. This was the case when we visited rocky dolerite ridges on which the large succulent Quiver Trees (Aloe dictotoma) grow in impressive colonies.
Most appealing to my eye was the huge trunks of these plants, which as it grew in girth, revealed an endless variety of colour and texture on the surface underneath.


A forest of Quiver Trees on a dolerite ridge.

The beautiful symmetry of a single tree.

Every trunk bore a different pattern...

And endless variety of shape and colour.

These colours, shapes and marks seem typical of those found in African art and craft.

5 comments:

Caerulean Skies said...

Hauntingly beautiful isn't it. You feel as if you are on another planet there, as the landscape is so alien looking. The indigenous San people hollowed out the branches to form quivers for their arrows.

Barry Parker said...

Thanks Erika. One of the most memorable places of the whole trip!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

I have never seen or heard of this tree Barry .. it is simply amazing!
I watch so many nature shows it is astounding that I haven't bumped into it before .. it looks almost artificial it is so different !
Joy

Barry Parker said...

Hi Joy,
They are remarkable aren't they? I'm not sure how old some of the large trees are, but they certainly seem to be venerable survivors.

Helen said...

Wow. My first impulse was to make a fabric pattern inspired by them. That's the ghost of my mother talking, I think. She was a talented textile designer, especially with stylized botanical designs. She'd have loved these trees.