These flowers of Erica curviflora var. curviflora seen in Kirstenbosch are neither two-toned nor significantly curved in the tubes. E. curviflora being a widespread species presents several guises to delight, sometimes to confuse.
The buds in the photo have dark tips, partly from translucence that allows an early glimpse of the still covered, dark anthers, getting ready for their debut. In open flowers the brown anthers as well as the slightly longer style tip, the stigma, are exserted. The five corolla tube lobes curve back around them.
The wide range of developmental stages of flowers present in the photo shows the plant’s courtesy to its pollinators, providing sustenance over as long a period as possible; a quality admired in restaurateurs.
Of course, in the spirit of the adage that there is no free lunch, the erica’s own survival needs are best served by prolonging the blooming season to the utmost. Every moment of ideal environmental conditions, whenever nature might oblige, is met fully prepared in the quest for seed production (www.plantzafrica.com; www.redlist.sanbi.org).