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South African Flowers Superbloom At UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

Vivian Bossieux-Skinner
South African flower during the superbloom at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

There’s an expansive spread of South African flowers in bloom right now at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden.

A super bloom is when many different flowers bloom all at once. It's truly a spectacle, and I joined enthusiasts at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Tuesday morning.

Now here's something you should know: these flowers flourish here because California's climate and rain cycle mirrors that of South Africa.

Several of the plants have been growing in the garden for decades, and some are rare or endangered. Ethan Fenner curates those South African plants.

He says when you first walk in, "the first thing you see is the sweeps of color. As you look you’ll start to see things that are more interesting, something you didn’t catch on the first glimpse."

Even if you aren’t able to make it over to the Botanical Garden for this bloom, Fenner says different plants bloom different times of year, and there’s always something new to see. And if you’re on a hike on your own, he says, "it’s just taking your time really and paying attention to flowers that look different. Just you know, stopping to crouch down and really admire the details in all of them."

One of my favorites was a little white flower with a red heart-shaped dot on each petal. Another plant smelled kind of like peanut butter.

You can see the ends of the South African flower superbloom yourself this weekend. The garden is located just down the hill from the Lawrence Hall of Science in the Berkeley Hills.