Only the fruits on the rambling Cysticapnos vesicaria subsp. vesicaria branches are clearly visible in the October sun. It has burnt away the leaves or most of them here in arid Barrydale Little Karoo veld. A number of the fruits have already lost their link to the mother plant; no matter when they are ripe.
Resembling marbles in a children’s game, the small white fruits lie scattered among what other growth spring could muster in this karoid patch. Although appearing beaten, this plant is successful. The seeds produced are many times the number of the visible fruits.
The branches? They will die or are dead already, as this plant is an annual.
Annuals don’t have to overcome the challenges of all the seasons and still fight again next year. Their species survival is carried from one year to the next by their seeds. The little, dry seed bodies are more impervious to climatic challenges than the live plants. Species problem solved, although life is short.
Winter rain will trigger the miracle of new growth from the seeds, albeit from only a comparatively small percentage of them. Life is also tough.