Archive for 'Leaves'

Fringed Rue (Ruta chalepensis)

Fringed Rue (Ruta chalepensis)

I only found this species in one specific location on Skant (or Skand) – the highest point on all of Socotra. Elevation: 1480 meters.

Spiniluma discolor

Spiniluma discolor

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. Endemic.

Libinhania sphaerocephala

Libinhania sphaerocephala

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

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.

Searsia thyrsiflora

Searsia 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

Pulicaria lanata

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

African Boxwood (Myrsine africana)

African Boxwood (Myrsine africana)

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 […]

Thamnosma socotrana

Thamnosma socotrana

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.

Libinhania rosulata – 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 scopulorum

Hypericum scopulorum

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. Endemic.

Convolvulus sarmentosus

Convolvulus sarmentosus

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.

Micromeria remota

Micromeria remota

I wish I had a week on top of Socotra as there are so incredibly many magnificent plants species and many grow only on socotra! This was the only specimen I could find on Skant (Skand), but with more days I’m certain I would have found magnificent speciemens if I could have climbed where goats […]

Helichrysum rosulatum

Libinhania rosulata

With or without flowers, I find this plant really beautiful as it spreads out over the rocks of Socotras highest peaks. This was one of very few with inflorescences – on the very highest mountain of Socotra – Skant. Endemic.

Coelocarpum haggierensis

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

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

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

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.

Tamarix nilotica

Tamarix nilotica

An incredible plant growing to small trees here in Stera of south Socotra. Earlier this morning I saw “bleeding” on the trunks and branches of these plants, and realized it was water. I thought it was moisture caught during the night. It was as salt as it gets! These plants stand tall and strong here […]

Adenium obesum ssp. socotranum

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

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

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

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.

Dirichletia obovata

For me the trail to the Hoq cave was so much more interesting than the cave itself, as here you’ll see incredible specimens of so many endemic species like the dirichletia obovata which I did not encounter elsewhere during my 14 day journey throughout the island.

Exacum affine

Exacum affine

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

Helichrysum sp

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 […]

Libinhania gracilipes

Libinhania 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

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

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 🙂

Dirichletia virgata

Dirichletia 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.

Cyperus conglomeratus

Cyperus conglomeratus

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. […]

Heliotropium socotranum

Heliotropium socotranum

Found widespread on and around the Archer sand dunes and varies between all white or yellow or something in between. It resembles H. wagneri and H. shoabense, but the two have a very limited range.

Socotra plant 18

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 – […]

Atriplex farinosa (Chenopodiaceae)

Atriplex farinosa (Chenopodiaceae)

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

Kohautia socotrana

This flower of this species 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 […]

Haya obovata

Haya obovata

The most beautiful stage of this species, as when it’s fully grown it’s rather spindly and easily overlooked. Found near the Archer sand dunes. Endemic.

Trachyspermum pimpinelloides

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.

Wonderboom Fig (Ficus salicifolia)

Wonderboom Fig (Ficus salicifolia)

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

Corbichonia decumbens

Cucumis prophetarum

The entirety of this cucumber plant is really fascinating, and I’ve never seen it before. This is likely Cucumis prophetarum ssp dissectum, as it is more lobed than the Cucumis prophetarum ssp prophetarum

Corbichonia decumbens

Corbichonia decumbens

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

Cryptolepis socotrana

Cryptolepis socotrana

I found this species only in this location during my two week stay on Socotra. It grows in a crack in the rock face of the Kalesan gorge – out of reach for the goats and thus protected. But come the annual monsoons and it will be in a torrent of water and debris grinding […]

Cryptolepis socotrana

Cryptolepis socotrana

I found this species only in this location during my two week stay on Socotra. It grows in a crack in the rock face of the Kalesan gorge – out of reach for the goats and thus protected. But come the annual monsoons and it will be in a torrent of water and debris grinding […]

Phyllanthus maderaspatensis

Phyllanthus maderaspatensis

I found this species on dry riverbeds.

Socotra plant 14

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 🙂

Croton socotranus

Croton socotranus

Perhaps the most common shrub on Socotra. In many places it dominates the landscape with forest-like growth, reaching several meters tall. It varies in appearance from shrubs with small leaves to small trees with larger leaves. White bark is another variation found in higher altitudes. While traveling around the island you’ll find this species in […]

Kalanchoe farinacea

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

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

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

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

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

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 […]

Achyranthes aspera

Achyranthes aspera

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!

Ruellia insignis

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 […]

Aerva javanica

Aerva javanica

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

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

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 […]

Evolvulus alsinoides

Evolvulus alsinoides

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)

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 […]

Asystasia gangetica

Asystasia gangetica

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

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.

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

Juncus socotranus

A very large species – at least 2 meters tall!

Exacum affine

Exacum affine

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

Phyla nodiflora

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 paulayanum

Limonium paulayanum

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), but is just a variation of paulayanum as the leaves are flat, opposed to the circular of the sokotranum. Endemic.

Euphorbia arbuscula

Euphorbia arbuscula

The mature specimens are gorgeous trees that provide shade from the scorching sun, as the dense crown has no leaves to shed. The tree bleeds a white substance when cut. As with many other endemic species on Socotra, this one survives the hardest of droughts, and even blossoms in the dry season. I visited during […]

Trichocalyx obovatus

Trichocalyx obovatus

Similar to trichocalyx orbiculatus which has orbicular leaves. Uncertain if this could be a variation of one species.

Indigofera nephrocarpa

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.

Launaea rhynchocarpa

Launaea rhynchocarpa

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.

Ochradenus socotranus

Ochradenus socotranus

Linear leaves barely distinguishable unless you get up close. This was an untouched and healthy specimen growing out of the sheer cliff face, which is key to many species that are otherwise completely stunted due to the incessant grazing of the goats. There are many imposing cliff faces on the way to Shuab beach of […]

Dendrosicyos socotranus

Dendrosicyos socotranus

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, while the rest of the tree had broad, flat leaves. Endemic.

Cucumis prophetarum 2

Cucumis prophetarum 2

On the steep cliffs of west Socotra on the way to Shuab beach I found many interesting plants and some untouched by goats. This rather large specimen was still in great shape and would perhaps be able to make ripe seeds before the lack of water completely suspends all life. This is likely Cucumis prophetarum […]

Camptoloma lyperiiflorum

Camptoloma lyperiiflorum

Densely glandular on almost all of the plant. This keeps goats and insects away, and I have a great specimen to admire!

Ipomoea sinensis

Ipomoea sinensis

The cliffs on the way to Shuab beach of west Socotra have lots of interesting seemingly inaccessible locations for goats. At least it looks that way from the ocean. As I climbed I saw the sign of goats everywhere, but fortunately many small plants were in bloom like this one. I later realized that goats […]

Farsetia longisiliqua

Farsetia longisiliqua

In the northern end of Shuab beach the sheer cliffs provide shade and an extended period of cooler temperatures. This in turn provided me with the joy of seeing many plant species still in bloom and not drooping from lack of water.

Ballochia atro-virgata

Ballochia atro-virgata

Yet another excellent specimen of a plant species on Shuab beach of west Socotra. Non-glandular calyx and taller than 50 cm.

Capparis cartilaginea

Capparis cartilaginea

This is an incredible plant species which can grow dangling from sheer cliffs, but this one was growing on the beach of Shuab in the west of Socotra and thus easily accessible for my and my camera to capture the stunning flower. Here an example of its “acrobatic” abilities – this one is hanging over […]

Socotra plant 06

Socotra plant 06

One of many species in the bindweed or morning glory family I found on Socotra. This was growing on the beach of Shuab in the west of the island. Please help me identify it – leave a comment 🙂

Pergularia tomentosa

Pergularia tomentosa

The hairs on the leaves cast a whitish hue, which together with the heart-shaped makes this plant unmistakable in any vegetative state.

Withania riebeckii

Withania riebeckii

High above the Detwah lagoon of western Socotra I found a favourite spot just under the cave. Here the landscape was supporting a range of plants as the high cliffs and outcrops lend a hand in sun protection during the first half of the day. Endemic.

Gray Mangrove (Avicennia marina)

Gray Mangrove (Avicennia marina)

Shiny and leathery leaves that have a very different underside. The amount of salt excreted is deposited on the underside of each leaf of these trees. A free desalination plant for humans in need of salt on their food.

Limonium sokotranum

Limonium sokotranum

A very hardy and salt tolerant species that I found commonly close to the ocean, as here on the beautiful beach of Shuab in west Socotra, and you can see the many salt crystals on the leaves. Sokotranum has cyllindrical leaves opposed to paulayanum’s obovate. Endemic.

Heliotropium socotranum

Heliotropium socotranum

Resembles H. wagneri and shoabense, but the two have a very limited range, and I therefore assume this is a young specimen of socotranunum. Found on the beach of Detwah with many goats, so they might not reach mature sizes here.

Capparis cartilaginea

Capparis cartilaginea

The morning shade from the steep cliff at the northern end of Shuab beach of socotra provides great opportunities for many plant species. I found this specimen leaning against a rock close to the sea, but others thrive in cracks on the cliff face itself. Some even hanging from overhangs.

Dendrosicyos socotranus

Dendrosicyos socotranus

The leaves are rough, thick and spiny and can resemble geranium. A single tree can produce leaves with great variety in shape.

Aizoon canariense

This species thrives on the flats close to the ocean, and are very small and inconspicuous. In fact I had to use my macro to see the flowers! Lots of goats roam the areas around the Detwah lagoon of west Socotra where these are photographed, and they trample the ground and the small plants, but […]

Senna holosericea

Senna holosericea

Quite common on lower levels, and here around the Detwah lagoon I found it widespread around the campground. Goats leave these, and most of the pea family alone, so I found them in bloom and with fruit, despite lots of goats in this nature reserve.

Lindenbergia sokotrana

Lindenbergia sokotrana

Lots of glandular hairs, but I forgot to test so I don’t know the scent or viscosity of the secretion. Endemic.

Corchorus erodioides

Corchorus erodioides

On the hills overlooking the Detwah lagoon on the west coast of Socotra I found many interesting flowers, and luckily some not destroyed by goats. In a few days this location would have been bone dry, and I found many signs of the coming dry season as many small plants were drooping from lack of […]

Heliotropium dentatum

Heliotropium dentatum

On the hills overlooking the Detwah lagoon on the west coast of Socotra I found many interesting flowers, and luckily some not destroyed by goats. In a few days this location would have been bone dry, and I found many signs of the coming dry season as many small plants were drooping from lack of […]

Socotra plant 02

Socotra plant 02

On the hills overlooking the Detwah lagoon on the west coast of Socotra I found many interesting flowers, and luckily some not destroyed by goats. In a few days this location would have been bone dry, and I found many signs of the coming dry season as many small plants were drooping from lack of […]

Cleome brachycarpa

Cleome brachycarpa

On the hills overlooking the Detwah lagoon on the west coast of Socotra I found many interesting plants, and luckily some not destroyed by goats. Up close you can clearly see the resin on the hairs. In a few days this location would have been bone dry, and I found many signs of the coming […]

Euphorbia schimperi

From afar these bushy plants look like a mess of sticks, but when in bloom a visit up close reveals beautiful inflorescences and naturally pollinating insects. Socotra has a huge number of endemic plants and many are so strange that you really feel you’re on a different planet. This species is not endemic, so it’s […]

Hypoestes pubescens

Hypoestes pubescens

On the hills overlooking the Detwah lagoon on the west coast of Socotra I found many interesting flowers, and luckily some not destroyed by goats. In a few days this location would have been bone dry, and I found many signs of the coming dry season as many small plants were drooping from lack of […]

Jatropha unicostata

Jatropha unicostata

A very common tree in lower levels of Socotra which in places make widespread forests. On my trip I found these trees in full bloom here along the Detwah lagoon, whilst on other sides of the island the trees were with yellow leaves like autumn, and yet other areas completely without leaves or flowers.