flower

Blooming March & April

We are thrilled to share these beautiful blooms in flower this month. Please keep a special look out for our critically endangered Gladiolus roseovenosus and the HUGE Candelabra Lily, Brunsvigia josephiniae as species of interest.

Autumn Afrikaner 

Autumn Afrikaner – Gladiolus emiliae

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SANBI Red List status: Near Threatened B1ab(iii,v)
Endemic to the Western Cape

According to SANBI – This gorgeous gladiolus is known from 15-20 locations in the Western Cape. It has lost habitat to afforestation and is declining due to alien plant invasion. Its striking colour is unmistakable on the reserve as the deep red will catch your eye. It’s favourite habitat is rocky sites on either clay soils or loamy sand along the interface between shale and sandstone rocks. On Gondwana they enjoy growing in areas that have been burnt or where the vegetation is low enough for them not to have to compete for pollinators or sunshine.

Gladiolus – Gladiolus engysiphon

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SANBI Red List status: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) 
Endemic to the Western Cape

According to SANBI – This delicate plant is known from less than 10 locations in the Western Cape. It has lost over 80% of its habitat to crop cultivation and populations are also declining due to alien plant invasion and livestock grazing and trampling. It enjoys a variety of habitats; Sandstone Fynbos, Garden Route Granite Fynbos, Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos, Cape Lowland Alluvial Vegetation as well as Clay loam, shale and sandstone strata.

Gladiolus – Gladiolus roseovenosus

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According to SANBI – This is a really special plant to have on the reserve it is more endangered than our Rhino. There are only four historical subpopulations recorded in the Western Cape, one of which was destroyed by afforestation. The three remaining subpopulations are all very small (average 20 plants) and it is suspected that are fewer than 200 plants in total left. A decline in habitat quality is occurring due to alien plant invasion.

Candelabra Lily – Brunsvigia josephiniae

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SANBI Red List status: Vulnerable A2c; C2a(i)
Endemic to South Africa

According to SANBI – 30% of its habitat has been lost over the past 70 years. Herbarium specimens record about 18 subpopulations, and we estimate that a further 70 unrecorded subpopulations may exist. All subpopulations consist of fewer than 50 adult plants and are declining due to collection on an ongoing basis for medicinal purposes.

These magnificent bulbs add a vibrant charm to the reserve. Each flowerhead bursts forth with stunning, oversized red blooms, inviting the nectar-eating sugarbirds to pollinate them. As the wind dances through the landscape, the dry inflorescence tumbles, dispersing seeds and adding a dynamic element to the scene. Remarkably, these flowerheads can soar to waist height, showcasing the grandeur of this plant.

Being deciduous geophytes, they are able to withstand seasonal droughts and very low temperatures in the winter and are also resistant to veld fires.

Among South Africa’s geophytes, this plant stands out with the largest bulb and inflorescence, making it highly sought after in ornamental horticulture. Its specific name, “josephinae,” pays homage to Empress Josephine, the esteemed first wife of Napoleon.

Additionally, the traditional use of the dry bulb tunics as wound dressings adds a layer of cultural significance. It’s fascinating to note that young Xhosa men utilize these tunics as plasters following circumcision, underscoring the plant’s multifaceted importance in the region.

Parasol Lily – Crossyne guttata

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SANBI Red List status: Least Concern
Endemic to South Africa

This exquisite bulb, a frequent sight in the Nouga within the Reserve during this season, thrives in the shale and granite flats, particularly in the Renosterveld habitat. Bewitchingly beautiful yet dangerously poisonous, it commands attention. Its dusky pink blooms, delicately adorned, attract a variety of pollinators – from small butterflies to wasps, honeybees, and short proboscid flies. What’s particularly captivating is the sequential aging of its flowers, ensuring an extended allure for the visiting pollinators, thereby enhancing its ecological significance.

Bergpypie or Karkarblom – Tritoniopsis antholyza

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SANBI Red List status: Least Concern
Endemic to South Africa

Nestled amidst rocky sandstone slopes, this captivating botanical specimen boasts a vibrant array of rich pink to salmon-hued blooms, forming a densely packed spike that is truly unforgettable. Its elongated tubular flowers serve as an irresistible attraction for a variety of pollinators, including the elegant long-proboscid fly, the enchanting Table Mountain Beauty butterfly, and perhaps even the graceful sunbirds.

Dubbed with the onomatopoeic moniker “Karkarblom,” this plant’s common name derives from the gentle rustling sound emitted when its dry leaves gently brush against each other, adding yet another layer of intrigue to its charm.

Common mimetes or Rooistompie – Mimetes cucullatus

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SANBI Red List status: Least Concern
Endemic to South Africa

This striking member of the Proteaceae family commands attention with its distinctive pink flowers adorned with woolly tufts. Blooming throughout the year across various habitats, its adaptability to diverse soils and environments contributes to its remarkable survival in the wild.

Derived from the Greek “mimētḗs,” meaning imitator or mimic, the name Mimetes reflects its nature. “Cucullatus,” signifying hood-like, describes the floral leaves that partially envelop the flowers, forming a protective hood over them.

Within the Western Cape, all 14 species of Mimetes thrive. Among them, Mimetes cucullatus stands out as particularly robust and widespread, likely due to its unique ability to resprout after fires, thanks to its large, woody, underground rootstock.

In the past, the bark of Mimetes found utility in tanning processes.

For specific Red List Category Definitions click here: http://redlist.sanbi.org/redcat.php

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