I was wondering around Cape Nature’s awesome Kogelberg reserve on Friday when I came across this magnificent Nivenia levynsiae in full flower. According to the latest Red Data book of South African plants it is a rare species that is restricted to sandstone outcrops between Kogelberg and Kleinmond. It belongs to a group of plants known as woody irises. They are true shrubs with woody stems with a hard, brittle texture. They grow from this woody underground caudex that is resistant to fire. There are ten species within Nivenia of which two occur in Kogelberg, the other being the rare Nivenia stokoei. The genus is pollinated by flies of the family Nemestriniidae and by long-tongued bees belonging to the family Anthophorideae.
Cape Nature’s Kogelberg Nature Reserve is a must for fynbos lovers and is situated in the heart of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, about 8 km west of Kleinmond and some 90 km from Cape Town. You can access it from the (R44) coastal road where a gravel road leads for 3 km through private property to the entrance.