To Somaliland and back

Since I returned from Somaliland last week, I have been pondering how to evaluate the trip.
On the one hand it was a once in a life time experience for me and I’m truly grateful to have been able to do this. I saw many plants that were either new to me or I had not seen for many years. Seeing what people in a country like that have to cope with, also helps in appreciating one’s own situation.
On the other hand we ran into a lot of troubles that made the trip less pleasant and useful than expected. Sometimes the permits we had for travelling within the country were not sufficient; at other times the locals were very suspicious of what we were doing and did not want us to be there. In the end we even decided to cut the visit short and return two days earlier to Ethiopia.
Usually one of the main purposes for a trip like this is making as many pictures as is feasible. Unfortunately the camera I use as a rule (Nikon D700), decided to turn a lot of my pictures completely black. So, although the image took up memory space on the card, it showed only black pixels.  Fortunately I brought a spare body (D70) with me, so not al was lost, but calling the problem annoying would be somewhat of an understatement!
In spite of all this, I came home with a number of interesting pictures, some of which will appear on this blog in due course.

To wet your appetite I add some pictures of
Senecio pendulus, Aloe grisea, Dorstenia foetida and Dracaena schizantha resp.





Aloe perfoliata (1)

In 2000, Glen and Hardy came to the conclusion that Aloe comptonii, A. distans and A. mitriformis were to be united, under the old name A. perfoliata.
This species is most common in the Little Karoo, bur occurs from the Bokkeveld Mountains in the northwest  to Genadendal in the south and Uitenhage in the east. The plants are usually found on sandstone or quartzitic outcrops  where they often hang down vertical cliffs with stems up to 3 m long. The leaves are bluish-green and up to 25 cm long.
The flowers vary from dull orange-red to bright red and appear from August to February.

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aloeperf 2012-10-06 8023
aloeperf 2006-02-15-0042
aloeperf 2011-05-04_DSC5560

Aloe variegata

This beautiful and distinctive plant was one of the first Aloes to be successfully cultivated in Europe.
The Afrikaans common name is Kanniedood (cannot die), which may explain why one sees it often planted on graves. It is widely distributed in the dry parts of southern Africa.
The plants prefer stony ground in partial shade (I have never seen a more healthy plant than the one my mother used to grow on her shaded windowsill – and that was in in Holland, not a country known for it abundant sunshine to start with).