Archive for 'Leaves'

Socotra plant 27

On the highest peaks of Socotra you’ll find magnificent deciduous trees like this one. Some were finished shedding leaves whilst others were in yellows or reds like the temperate autumns. I was definitely entering their very last moments before the season of rest, so this is perhaps more a developing fruit than that of a […]

Helichrysum sphaerocephalum

Close to the top of Socotra, Skant (or Skand) I found some healthy plants of this species under some trees, which was a relief as all the previous I saw on the way up here were either drooping from lack of water or were browsed by goats. Endemic.

Oldenlandia balfourii

This plant is so small that it’s very easy to miss! On the field below the weather station of Skant I found many of them growing under trees. Endemic.

Rhus thyrsiflora

I found many of this species on top of Socotra – Skant (or Skand), but few with good flowers as it was nearing the end of the season. Endemic.

Pulicaria lanata

The wooly leaves makes this plant easy to identify year round. Endemic.

Socotra plant 26

A most peculiar inflorescence, but with with very attractive color! I found only two plants with this stage of flowering and fresh leaves seen here – all other were passed bloom. Again the top of Socotra – Skant (or Skand) was the very last range for the season, as on lower altitudes the dry season […]

Socotra plant 25

A most peculiar plant! I only found this plant with fresh flowers, but unfortunately not with open flowers yet. I found it in very steep terrain close to the top of Skant (Skand). Here the goats seemed to have been unable to destroy the vegetation, so it was exceptionally dense and varied. Could it be […]

Helichrysum rosulatum – as a tree!

Contrary to available literature, this is not necessary a cushion plant, unless goats get to them. I found this specimen of epic proportions on a sheer cliff – unacessible to the goats. It was like a tree – perhaps many hundreds of years old. This is a typical example of how goats have transformed many […]

Hypericum sp.

Never in my entire life have I seen hypericum grow as dense and tall shrubs as on top of Socotra (Skant)! I was mesmerized by the abundance of plants and flowers, and also relieved that goats leave at least this species alone. Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂 Endemic.

Socotra plant 24

Resembles Convolvulus sarmentosus, but its petals are rounded outwards opposed to this one which are flattened and pointing inwards at the mid-nerve of the petals. Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Helichrysum rosulatum

With or without flowers, I find this plant really beautiful as it spreads out over the rocks of Socotras highest poeaks. This was one of very few with inflorescences – on the very highest mountain of Socotra – Skant. This is a younger specimen which at first will grow as a cushion plant, but if […]

Coelocarpum haggierensis

This species grows to the size of small trees, and this one is just a few meters from the highest point of Socotra – Skant (or Skand). Endemic

Hypericum balfourii

When I suddenly stood in front of a hypericum tree, my heart jumped an extra beat and I jumped towards it in awe to make sure I did not hallucinate! This plant is close to 3 meters tall and is not only endangered due to it’s endemism and very limited range but must be of […]

Lavandula nimmoi

To find Lavender on Socotra was not expected, and my mindset was on this being an invasive or at least non-endemic species. But endemic it is! Again most were completely eaten by goats, but I managed to find one that was partly intact, at least one of inflorescences. Endemic.

Dragon blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari)

The unmistakable silhouette of the most famous of all plant species on Socotra. I stayed here for two nights, and what an amazing place – a forest of dragon blood trees! It’s like being in Jurassic park without the dinosaurs!

Heliotropium nigricans

All specimens of this species were heavily grazed by goats, so I was very happy to find this plant which had intact and healthy growth. Endemic.

Adenium obesum ssp. socotranum

A huge trunk with seemingly feeble branches – what a strange plant indeed. This adaptation means it can grow tender and mist leaves at any time – even at the height of the dry season. The trunk stores plenty of moisture for many lean times. Endemic

Socotra plant 22

I found this species on the scorching hot plain at sea level in the north by the road to Dixam, as well as higher up on around 800 meters elevation. Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Leucas virgata

I found very few with flowers, and only this one with a health flower and intact foliage. All plants were stunted due to heavy grazing by goats. Endemic.

Adiantum balfourii

Right outside Hoq cave in the northeast of Socotra I found many plant species benefiting from the water dripping from the cave, orchids and ferns like this one. further away from the opening and the drought is way underway with most plants now drooping or already completely crisp and dried.

Exacum affine

These were located alongside the stream between the dunes of Archer in the north of Socotra. Endemic.

Helichrysum sp

Resembles helichrysum gracilipes, but I’ve not found documentation on a wide variation on the inflorescence or leaves – only color variation of pink to white flowers. This one has a symmetrical flower, opposed to asymmetrical or zygomorphic in gracilipes, and leaf-tip (on stem) is pointed, opposed to rounded on gracilipes Please help me identify it […]

Helichrysum gracilipes

A slender and fragile plant with flowers I’m surprised were not eaten by the goats. I found it on my way to Hoq cave – quite close to the opening, so moisture was still available for the plants to complete flowering.

Limonium paulayanum

A very hardy plant that I found commonly in the Archer area in the north-east where it grows close to the ocean and thus the salt. Endemic.

Socotra plant 21

Yet another species in the fabaceae family and quite common too. This is from the Archer sea-side in the north-east. Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Placopoda virgata

I had to look far and wide to find a plant with flowers, as they all seemed past their prime flowering season, but at least I did find this one which also had health leaves, albeit on a stunted plant due to the goats! Endemic.

Socotra plant 19

This is high up on one of the dunes in Archer on the northeast coast of Socotra. This was the only one of its species here, and it has survived change in a way that’s quite remarkable. For one this place is sandblasted for months, during which this is not a place even for humans. […]

Socotra plant 18

The sand dunes of Erissel – the Socotra east cape – have some very specialized plants thriving in the wind-swept sand. This species was in some places growing in dense mats. This location is windswept and hot, with only rain or brackish water available, but this is a specialist. Please help me identify it – […]

Socotra plant 17

The sand dunes of Erissel – the Socotra east cape – have some very specialized plants thriving in the wind-swept sand. This species was in some places growing so dense that it seemed like a silvery thicket. This location is windswept and hot, with only rain or brackish water available, but this is a specialist […]

Kohautia socotrana

This flower is so elusive! I found one flower, and marked the spot so I would find it when I returned with my camera. Alas! I did not find it. It’s color is very similar to the ground in which it grows, and it’s so slender and skinny that even fully opened flowers are easily […]

Trachyspermum pimpinelloides

The specimens I found close to the beach were small and early in their development of inflorescences, which is perhaps the most beautiful stage of any plant.

Ficus cordata ssp. salicifolia

Like so many plant species on Socotra, this species can get a foothold on bare rock!

Socotra plant 16

The entirety of this cucumber plant is really fascinating, and I’ve never seen it before, nor do I know if it’s an endemic or not. Please help me identify it – leave a comment Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Corbichonia decumbens

This one I found on the riverside of Kalesan gorge, which means it must endure flash floods – impressive!

Socotra plant 15

I found this species on dry riverbeds. Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Socotra plant 14

I found this species in only one place, on the most inaccessible sheer cliffs alongside a river gorge – not even the goats can destroy this one! Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Aloe perryi

It’s amazing how localized the rain and climate is on this island, and when it comes to this species I was about to give up, as all were long past blooming season, and none had any sign of stalks. Except this one on my way to the dragon blood tree forest. It had flowers and […]

Kalanchoe farinacea

I found several plants of this species, but only this one with vital flowers and with really beautiful leaves. It stands on the bare face of a rock overlooking a river valley (Wadi Kalesan) in the northeast of Socotra. Endemic.

Lachnocapsa spathulata

Very soft to the touch. In addition the hairs reflect sunlight, perhaps to significantly reduce water evaporation and overheating during growth. Endemic.

Caralluma socotrana

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Euphorbia spiralis

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Lotus ononopsis

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Socotra plant 13

The inflorescence can grow very long, and this one was at least 50 cm long protected as it was inside the huge Juncus socotranus. Otherwise this would have been consumed by the goats! I was in fact in luck to even find this excellent section of foliage! Please help me identify it – leave a […]

Ruellia insignis

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Socotra plant 12

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Teucrium socotranum

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Dicliptera effusa

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Socotra plant 11

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Blue pimpernell (Anagallis arvensis var. caerulea)

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Socotra plant 10

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Campylanthus spinosus

This plant is one of many interesting species I found in a very small area in a valley at 320 meters altitude. A river runs through on the valley floor, supporting lots of more water demanding species, but just a few meters up the mountain slopes a rocky a harsher environment with lots of plant […]

Oldenlandia pulvinata

I found very few still with flowers, but when in prime flowering season these mats will be all-white with flowers. At least I got a clear view of the leaves 🙂 Endemic.

Helichrysum sp.

Resembles helichrysum gracilipes, but I’ve not found documentation on a wide variation on the inflorescence or leaves – only color variation of pink to white flowers. This one has asymmetrical flower, opposed to asymmetrical or zygomorphic in gracilipes. I found it on my way to Hoq cave – quite close to the opening, so moisture […]

Juncus socotranus

A very large species – at least 2 meters tall!

Exacum affine

This one was growing alongside a small stream at around 300 meters above sea. Endemic.

Phyla nodiflora

This species is found in or alongside streams, and in some places form dense mats or even fields, completely dominating the floral expression. Here I only found a few scattered plants. Strangely these plants seem to be left alone by goats! I found a completely intact colony by the huge dunes in the north – […]

Limonium sp

This species looks like a mix between Limonium sokotranum (long an circular leaves) and paulayanum (oval and wider than long leaves and leaves about half in length to the sokotranum). Please help in positive id – leave a comment 🙂 Endemic.

Indigofera nephrocarpa

A beautiful specimen of the species found during my climb up the cliffs on the way to Shuab beach which was forming a dense mat.

Socotra plant 08

Despite the white juice produced by this plant, the goats eat the plant and I was unable to find an untouched specimen – so the cut seen here is from grazing. Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Dendrosicyos socotrana

Less famous than the desert rose or bottle tree, but equally amazing with its oversized trunk compared to the tiny branches. The leaves can vary wildly on a tree. One branch had these extremely frizzy leaves resembling parsley shown above, while the rest of the tree had broad leaves. Endemic.