The variety of wildflowers in bloom after the effect of fire still continues to add swathes of colour to the mountainsides. The dense stands of powder puffs in the Silvermine area and the bloodroot flowers in the section of the Cape Point reserve steal the show in their shades of lilac and mauve.
We may have one of the world’s richest floral kingdoms (The Cape Floristic Region) here in the Cape, but with one in six plants being declared critically rare or endangered it is sadly one of the most threatened.
A lot of work is being done to save these endangered species and the plant above (Erica verticillata) is one of those success stories.
“The story of Erica verticillata is unique in the annals of plant conservation in South Africa. It was regarded as extinct in the wild, or ‘perhaps exterminated’ (Adamson & Salter 1950), by the second half of the 20th century. It was rediscovered in a park in Pretoria in 1984 and, since then, in various botanical gardens around the world and brought back into cultivation at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The species has become one of Kirstenbosch’s flagship conservation species and has been re-established to three Sand Plain Fynbos reserves within the urban sprawl of Cape Town. These include Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area and the Tokai Park under management of the South African National Parks. Its status remains Extinct in the Wild and will be re-assessed when it has survived three burn cycles in the wild without restocking or replanting.” (Extract from PlantzAfrica.com).
Happily in a previous post here, I can boast of having a couple of these rare plants in our backyard – which in turn attract the sunbirds and their valuable pollination services.
Another post on wild flowers for Jude’s challenge – Proteas this time – specially for Maurice over at iAMsafari. Hiking in the mountains or along the coast here in the Cape and you’re bound to come across a number of different protea. They’re a magnificent genus from the King protea to the spiderheads, blackbeards, silkypuffs, pincushions, cones, etc and pretty rife with showy species. There are about 360 different species in southern Africa; Australia has many more – 800 (according to the Sasol Field Guide).
Jude calls for Wild flowers in May; though it’s spring in the northern hemisphere, the autumn months in the Cape also bring a wealth of showy species. It’s the start of the rainy season and the plants in flower tend to be structural and sturdy like the aloes, sugarbush, red hot pokers. Varieties of erica are also flowering, and the blombos continues to add it’s piquant fragrance. Not to be too boastful about our incredible wild flower heritage, the Cape has some 9000 flowering species and falls under the Cape Floristic Region – one of the world’s six floral kingdoms. It’s a stunning wealth and nowhere else in the world is there such profusion of endemism and concentration of species. How fortunate we are to have so many different species flowering throughout the year. I’ll be back with more!