Hey, I am not entirely sure if it is because of the drought or despite of the drought, but I have been noticing that the plants in the area have been acting a little weirder than normal, especially when it comes to their seeding. And I have been left to ponder if these plants are simply trying to ensure their population during times of drought, or if they are anticipating rain this year and getting ready to re-populate to compensate for all the plants that had been lost during the drought.
Firstly lets have a look at this unique plant commonly known to locals as a Halfmens - a direct translation of that would be a Half-Human. But if you really want to, you can be all fancy and call it by its scientific name which is Pachypodium Namaquanum.
Due to illegal trade and harvesting of the plant it has managed to land itself on a endangered list, under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna
This fascinating and highly sought after succulent that normally only produces a few seedpods when lucky, has made numerous clusters of over-sized banana like pods this year. And I am looking forward to harvesting and propagating the seeds when the time is here.
But while I wait for the seeds to get ready for harvesting, let me tell you a little story about how the Half-Human got its name.
The Halfmens plant when growing in its natural environment normally grows in groups, and when you see these groups from a distance especially against the African skyline they hold a lot of resemblance to people that has been frozen in time in a strenuous motion, the leafy top depicting the hair of constantly north-facing heads.
The Khoi Koi people relays the ledgend of the Halfmens trees to future generations as such:
The Koi Koi people were a peace loving people close to nature as well as their gods, and they resided in harmony in the northern parts of Africa, until one day their tribe was driven off of their beloved lands to the South by invading war driven tribes, and they had no other choice but to leave their beloved lands.
While fleeing the Koi Koi people were hungry and thirsty, deprived of the comforts of the land that they once knew, and some of the people turned back in despair longingly looking back to their former home from the barren water-less African landscape that they now found themselves in when a sympathetic god of theirs decided to ease their suffering by turning them into halfmens (Half-Human). And so it came to be that the 'heads' of the halfmens tree always faces North - so that these people could forever look towards their beloved homes that they were forced to leave behind.
However Science has something different to say about this extremely slow growing tree like succulent, they rate that the reason this plant is always facing North is so that it can give its leave crowns maximum exposure to the sun during winter months.
Another plant that has been overly seeding this year, is the he Kiepersol tree and in all my years of encountering this tree if have never seen them overly seeding, however this year they siply seemed to explode with clusters of seeds in this area.
And more interestingly this is yet another tree that holds a strange part of African history.
This time the history lesson leans towards the Afrikaaners in the times when Ox-wagons were used to brave the trek over the unforgiving mountain passes in the northern regions of Southern Africa.
You see, because the Kiepersol tree has a very soft wood that was more pliable and less likely to char under the heat of constant friction, the Voortrekkers decided that it would be a decent wood to use for the breaks of their ox-wagons while travelling through the steep mountain ranges where the breaks would have to be constantly applied when embarking on downhill passes, plus the tree was reasonably widespread throughout the area that they were traveling at that time, and in prayer for the breaks not to fail, the Afrikaaners would pray - 'Lord, keep our souls" thus the tree was then dubbed the 'Keep Our Soul' tree, which was later watered down to the Kiepersol - and the name simply stuck.
These are not in any way shape or form the only trees that has been excessively over seeding this year, and the more I think about this strange plant behavior the more I wonder if the plants are simply preparing for the worst by producing more seeds so that they can ensure their survival through more possible drought, or if they might be expecting rain sometime soon and want to ensure that they have a much needed increase in numbers through prolifically spread seeds.
Either or, I can not help but think that these plants might know something that we don't - If only plants could talk...