What’s flowering – Cyrtanthus leucanthus and Otholobium rotundifolium

Fynbos fan Bill Duminy of Wortelgat sent in these pics of Cyrtanthus leucanthus and Otholobium rotundifolium that he took in veld burnt a few months back on the Kleinriver mountain range between Stanford and Hermanus. Both species are well adapted to rapid flowering following fire, giving them an advantage over slower maturing species that take a few years to produce their first flowers following fire.

Cyrtanthus leucanthus (photo Bill Duminy)Otholobium rotundifolium (photo Bill Duminy)










Cyrtanthus leucanthus (witbergpypie) is a bulbous plant that is most profuse in the first year following fire and is a local endemic to the region, only growing between Betty’s Bay and Potberg on sandstone and limestone slopes. Owing to its localised distribution is has been classified as endangered in the latest Red Data book of South African plants.

Otholobium rotundifolium is a member of the skaapbostee family and is a re-sprouting shrub, enabling it to grow rapidly from underground rootstock following fire and flowering in the first year. It produces pale lilac to white flowers and grows on sandstone slopes in mountain fynbos from Jonkershoek to the Kleinrivier mountains.

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Fynbos Field Course 2013

Prof Eugene Moll is going to run one of his fantastic fynbos field courses again this year from the 27th May to 1st June.

Anyone interested in doing this course should email him on emoll@telkomsa.net as soon as possible and he will furnish you with further details.

FYNBOS (2013) General Information (2013)


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Namaqualand wildflower guide

Dear all


Sponsorship Form e-mail

BotSoc, in partnership with Struik Nature, is producing a third edition of Namaqualand Wild Flower Guide, with the aim of having this available for the Spring of 2013. There will be approximately 500 species described and illustrated.

Please see the attached document for sponsorship or subscription options.

IF YOU WISH TO SPONSOR OR SUBSCRIBE, PLEASE contact Kate Steyn on +27-21-671 5468 or email kate@botsoc-kirstenbosch.org.za.


Eugene Moll


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Environmental Assessment Practitioner at Sillito Environmental Consulting: Closing 25 April 2013

Dear all

Environmental Assessment Practitioner at Sillito Environmental Consulting: Closing 25 April 2013   

 EAP Employment March 2013

Please see the attached document about a vacancy at Sillito Environmental Consulting.


Adrian Sillito


Sillito Environmental   Consulting

“Environmental   Solutions for a Changing World”

Adrian   Sillito

:   +27 (0) 21 712 5060

F:   +27 (0) 21 712 5061

M:   +27 (0) 82 726 0757



Suite   105, Block B2, Tokai Village Centre, Vans Road, Tokai, Cape Town, 7966

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Thatching with restios

A few weeks back a troop of baboons spent the day on my farm feasting on grapes and sliding down my thatched roof. The result was an awful mess, dirty paw prints all over the walls, gutters hanging from their brackets, grape skins and roof thatch scattered all over the place. the rogues seem to really enjoy sliding down the thatch as well as digging around under the thatch for bugs to eat. It got me thinking about restios and thatching – one of the most well known fynbos-based industries.

In days before zinc and other roofing materials, thatch was the major roofing material in the Cape and must have been widely harvested from landscapes that were managed exclusively for maximizing thatch production. However, the introduction of zinc roofing at the end of the 1800s, coupled with the terrible fires associated with thatch roofs, led to the steady demise of thatching. By the mid 1900s, the thatch industry was almost dead, as was the skill of thatching. However, a resurgence in thatch – driven almost entirely by a demand in the luxury home sector, has occurred in the past 30 years.

Today, Albertinia dekriet, also known as winterriet or mannetjiesriet (Thamnochortus insignis), supports an estimated R25 million industry in the Southern Cape, providing work for between 250 and 300 people in the primary production sector and countless more on construction sites. The species’ long, hardwearing culms found in fynbos veld are the preferred thatching material and considered superior to the thatching grasses of the summer-rainfall region. Consequently, about half of the Southern Cape production is sold in the northern and eastern parts of the country where a lively demand for game lodges has caused the price to rise considerably. Related species like Thamnochortus erectus (somerriet, wyfieriet) and Chondropetalum tectorum are also used as thatch, but commercial thatchers pay a premium for T. insignis.

Very little value is added locally on ninety per cent of the crop; the rest is manufactured into thatching tiles which can be installed by relatively unskilled thatchers. These tiles are exported into the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, where demand is reported to be strong.

Thamnochortus insignis occurs naturally on sandy neutral to alkaline soils of the coastal plain between Cape Agulhas and the Gouritz River. Where it occurs naturally, it is a dominant part of the landscape, mostly in uneven stands, although dense stands also occur. In some areas, reed veld is heavily invaded by rooikrans (Acacia cyclops).

Fortunately for me the art of thatching is still alive and thriving in nearby Elim – where virtually all the houses are still thatched in traditional style. A local Elim thatching team spent the weekend repairing my roof and now its as good as new – so long as the baboons stay away!

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Vacancies at Cape Nature: Closing date 12 April 2013

Dear all

Vacancies at CapeNature

Please see the two attachments for
1. Conservation Assistant, Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve
2. Programme Manager: Integrated Catchment Management

Conservation Assistant, HHNR, 12 April 2013Untitled attachment 00002

Closing Date: 12 April 2013.

Kind Regards
Simona Fortuin
HR Administrator (Recruitment & Selection) | Human Resources

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What’s Flowering – Gladiolus martleyi and Gladiolus brevifolius

As the seasons change, the mornings get cooler and the first rains arrive two delicate pink Gladiolus have appeared on the sandstone slopes of Flower Valley and Grootbos. Both Gladiolus brevifolius (Autumn pipes, pictured left below) and Gladiolus martleyi (basterherfspypie, pictured right below) are autumn flowering with pink flowers.

Gladiolus brevifolius on Grootbos nature reserve - Heiner Lutzeyer

Gladiolus martleyi on Fynbos hub, photo Heiner Lutzeyer








Both species have yellow nectar guides. Those of Gladiolus martleyi are generally better defined. G. martleyi has scented flowers whereas the flowers of Gladiolus brevifolius are unscented.  Gladiolus brevifolius grows from Piketberg to Cape Agulhas and Gladiolus martleyi grows from the Bokkeveld escarpment to Albertinia.

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Conservation at work

Dear all

Conservation at Work website

The Conservation at Work – the old Western Cape Conservation Stewardship Association – website recently went live and it contains very nice guidelines that might be of interest to conservation minded people.   A list of legislation documents are also on the site.

Website address:   www.conservationatwork.co.za

We also have a Facebook Page:  Conservation at Work

Kindest regards

Anne Du Plessis

Project Manager: WCCSA Co – Ordinator

NCC Environmental Services

M: +27 72 775 2294

E:   annedp@ncc-group.co.za

T:  +27 21 702 2884

F:  +86 555 0693

26 Bell Close | Westlake Business Park | Westlake | Cape Town

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An unusual form of Lapeirousia corymbosa from Farm 215

Fynbos fan, Maarten Groos of Farm 215 near Gansbaai sent me this photo of an unusual form of  Lapeirousia corymbosa (koringblommetjie) that he photographed in a small remnant patch of Elim ferricrete fynbos on his farm. Lapeirousia corymbosa in Elim ferricrete fynbos on Farm 215Lapeirousia corymbosa grows in sandy-clay soils on flats and lower slopes from Piketberg to the Cape Peninsula and eastwards to Caledon/Bredasdorp and flowers in the spring.

Elim Ferricrete fynbos is a critically endangered vegetation type restricted to relatively fertile, low-lying areas on the Agulhas Plain.

Only some 15% of the original extent of this fynbos vegetation type remains and this number continues to dwindle as farmers in the area illegally plough it up to increase the size of their grazing lands. Kudos to Maarten and his team at Farm 215 for protecting this patch including these little beauties and raising the flag for Elim fynbos conservation.


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De Hoop Nature Reserve – a great place to enjoy fynbos and so much more.

I was in the beautiful De Hoop Nature Reserve over the weekend. De Hoop is approximately 34 000 ha in size and one of the largest natural areas managed by CapeNature. It is a favorite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers and during the winter and early summer months, whale watchers – and one of my absolute favorite places to see fynbos in all its glory.

Even though it is the end of a long dry summer a number of plant species were in full flower. These Diosma echinulata are endemic to the stretch of coastline between De Hoop and Albertinia to the east.

buchu in De Hoop nature reserve - photo Sean Privett

It has typical buchu leaves which give off a pungent odor when crushed and flowers from December to April each year. It is restricted to limestone soils along the coast and grows in among the carpet-like reed Elegia (previously Chondropetalum) microcarpa (Restionaceae) which blankets the dunes close to the coast.

Chondropetalum microcarpum - now Elegia microcarpa

This species typically spreads by underground rhizomes and forms dense mats that naturally stabilise dune sands along the coast from Melkbosstrand to Port Elizabeth.  De Hoop is home to the very special De Hoop limestone fynbos with approximately 1500 plant species found in the region.

Of course the reserve is about more than just its magnificent fynbos flora. Situated less than three hours from Cape Town the Reserve is truly the crown jewel amongst Western Cape nature reserves. The reserve is home to 86 mammal species. Most notable are the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra, as well as eland, grey rhebuck, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal and the occasional leopard.

The large mammal fauna are generally congregated in the grazing grounds around the old De Hoop farmstead, making for easy viewing. Over the weekend during a short drive my son was delighted to see baboon, bontebok, ostrich, eland and zebra with a foal in a matter of half an hour.

Bontebok on www.fynboshub.co.za

Cape mountain zebra - www.fynboshub.co.za






Both these species came perilously close to extinction in the past. The Bontebok was treated as a pests and hunted down to just seventeen animals by the 1930′s, while there were only about 140 Cape Mountain zebras by the late 1960′s. Fortunately conservation efforts have seen healthy recovery in populations and nature reserves such as De Hoop now play a crucial role in ensuring the long term survival of these beautiful Cape animals.

We also saw pelicans and a huge variety of other birds in the De Hoop vlei, some dassies (rock hyrax – Procavia capensis)  happily sunning themselves on a hot rock, two mongoose shot across our path and five Cape vulture circled over our car – all in a morning!

We also had fun running on the magnificent white sand dunes and enjoyed a dip in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.


Posted in Conservation, Diversity, What's flowering, where to see fynbos | 1 Comment