Our Beautiful Planet: Spring in the southern hemisphere | eco@africa | DW | 05.10.2017


Our Beautiful Planet: Spring in the southern hemisphere

A season of beginnings, renewal and growth: Spring has sprung in the southern hemisphere, bringing a fresh start after the winter months.

Frühling in Afrika (Getty Images/AFP/A. Joe)

This vibrant red bloom, native to South Africa and Zimbabwe, is known as a pincushion flower for its distinctive spiky shape. These plants blossom in the spring months, their bright colors attracting a wealth of birds and insects which feast on their nectar. Pincushion flowers are not self-pollinating and rely on small beetles and birds for pollination. They’re a common sight in South Africa during spring - just one of nature’s seasonal jewels.

When does Spring begin?

After a long winter, many yearn for the onset of Spring, but it’s not always clear when the season will set in. One clear marker is the Spring equinox - in the southern hemisphere, it took place on September 22 this year, the same day autumn began in the northern hemisphere.

An equinox happens twice a year when the Sun crosses the celestial equator – that’s the imaginary circle around the earth directly above the Earth’s equator. The word comes from the latin ‘equi’ meaning equal and ‘nox’ - night. On an equinox, day and night are nearly exactly the same length - 12 hours - all around the world.

The earth’s axis is always tilted at an angle, but the equinox is the moment in the Earth’s orbit that it is tilted neither towards or away from the sun. After that moment, the hemisphere where spring begins will be tilted towards the sun, receiving its warmth most directly, while the other hemisphere will start tilting away from the sun as autumn begins.

The joys of spring

Frühling in Afrika (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/Fischer)

Spring has symbolic connotations of fresh starts in cultures all around the world. In the southern hemisphere, it can mean an explosion of color, like in this picture of glossy orange daisies growing in the Namaqaland region of South Africa, famous for its vibrant spring blooms. The spectacular wild flowers mark the arrival of spring, drawing tourists to the arid region.

What season is it in your region? Do you have a picture of a beautiful landscape or something amazing in nature that you want to share with our readers? If so, you can send it to us using the upload tool on our website, or by emailing us at ecoafrica@dw.com. We look forward to hearing from you!  



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