I happen to live in the Cape Floral Kingdom. And what a pleasure it is.
First some stats: eight protected areas within the Cape Floral Kingdom (totaling about 550,000 hectares or 1.2 million acres) are designated as a World Heritage Site. Table Mountain National Park, in the middle of Cape Town, is only 22,000 hectares (about 50,000 acres), and contains more plant species than the British Isles. The kingdom has just under 10,000 vascular plant species, of which 70% are endemic (occur nowhere else). In terms of fauna, the area boasts 560 vertebrate species, including 142 reptile species of which 27 are endemic.
But it is not the stats that I like. I LOVE the plants and how they look.
In South Africa we use the word fynbos (or fine bush) as the generic name for all the plants in the kingdom. Virtually all the woody species are hard and tough with small leaves. There are also about 330 species of restios, which are grass like. The plants have adapted to flourish in the poor soil, high winds, winter rainfall, and frequent fires.
Perhaps the most famous of the plants from the area are proteas, strelitzia (bird of paradise), arum lilies, gladioli, and daisies. But I’m sure you’d rather see these flowers rather than read about them. So here goes.
|Yellow pin cushion|
|King protea close up|
|Red pin cushion|
|Daisies as far as the eye can see|
|Lesser double-collared sunbird|
Fynbos is a tourist attraction in its own right, and many people visit South Africa to explore the Western Cape’s flowers. With so many species, there are always plants in bloom, summer or winter. Right now, in my garden, I have seven varieties of proteas in bloom, as well as aloes, ericas, and yellow tickberry bushes.
No wonder we call this area Paradise.
Stan - Thursday