Fire Diary – week 11

By mid-April the first good rains had fallen, the temperatures were dropping and the blackened landscapes were now rapidly becoming covered in fresh, young vegetation. The photo below shows the fast regrowth of the resprouting Olea capensis ssp. capensis as well as asparagus and the grass Cymbopogon marginatus on the ridge below Swartkransberg.

Overberg sandstone fynbos after fire on Grootbos

A closer look at the landscape revealed some flowering gems including the resprouting Liparia splendens (the mountain dahlia) and Gerbera piloselloides (swarttee).

The mountain dahlia Liparia splendens flowering on Grootbos

Liparia splendens subsp. splendens, or the Mounatin dahlia as it is cmmonly known, is an creeping shrubs that is found on the higher peaks in the Walker Bay region where it is mostly found in rocky outcrops. As a species that resprouts after fire, the rocks provide some degree of protection for the undreground lignotuber from fire. Liparia seeds have a fleshy collar-like aril that attracts ants that disperse seeds underground. This dispersal strategy using ants is known as myrmecochory.  

Gerbera piloselloides (swarttee) flowering on Grootbos on fynboshub.co.za

Gerbera piloselloides (swartee) is a tufted perennial with a rosette of elliptical leaves that are softly cobwebby on both surfaces. It tends to be overshadowed by larger fynbos plants in mature veld. As such it loves fire, and is one of the first species to flower in the autumn after a burn. It has a natural distribution from the Cape Peninsula to tropical Africa.

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