Great Southern Bioblitz October 2021 Cape Town

 by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

Imagine you are walking on the slopes of Cape Town's mountains with me. This is what you would see, and learn to recognise. The ten most observed Bioblitz species and all are plants. These are the widespread LOOK At Me species. But we have also found treasure - my blue favourite this year - Gnidia penicillata (Thymelaeaceae family)

  

Tall and flamboyant in magenta (sometimes white), with crisp folded leaves Pelargonium cucullatum

 

Pelargonium cucullatum  Slangkop October 2018
Pelargonium cucullatum 
Slangkop October 2018

 

Low and spreading, quiet hard worker in gardens - gentle pink flowers, soft velvety fragrant leaves Pelargonium capitatum

 

Pelargonium capitatum Silvermine August 2017
Pelargonium capitatum
Silvermine August 2017

 

Ice plant or sour fig. Vygie with edible figs (invasive in California, Australia and Mediterranean shore) Flowers yellow or mid-pink Carpobrotus edulis

 

Carpobrotus edulis sour fig Silvermine December 2018
Carpobrotus edulis
sour fig
Silvermine December 2018

 

Passerina corymbosa. My nemesis. Typical fynbos - shrubby with small leaves, and tiny pale flowers in pink, yellow or cream. Stamens extended for wind pollination. Thymelaeaceae family whose common name gonna is Khoisan - stringy bark was used for binding.

 

Passerina corymbosa Gonna Brakkloofrant October 2019
Passerina corymbosa
Gonna
Brakkloofrant October 2019

 

Shrubby yellow daisy, almost a tree. But bietou is a daisy with edible black berries. Osteospermum moniliferum

 

Osteospermum moniliferum Bietou Silvemine August 2018
Osteospermum moniliferum
Bietou
Silvemine August 2018

 

A little orchid Disa bracteata has a purple hood

 

Disa bracteata orchid Rondebosch Common October 2017
Disa bracteata
orchid
Rondebosch Common October 2017

 

Everyone knows our white arum lily Zantedeschia aethiopica (aethiopica means South of the known world, the Sahara Desert) Again embarrassingly invasive in many other countries. And it is neither an Arum nor a lily.

 

Zantedeschia aethiopica arum lily to us our Porterville garden August 2009
Zantedeschia aethiopica
arum lily to us
our Porterville garden August 2009

 

Yellow pincushion protea. Woody shrub, the branches fork with each year's growth. Silver or green leaves depending on subspecies. Leucospermum conocarpodendron

 

Leucospermum conocarpodendron
Leucospermum conocarpodendron


 

Shrubby sage with limy leaves, deep terracotta flowers followed by persistent large bronze calyx Salvia aurea

 

Salvia aurea strandsalie or beach sage Kommetjie September 2021
Salvia aurea
strandsalie or beach sage
Kommetjie September 2021

 

Succulent with tall flower stems. Brick red buds opening to a rich cream Crassula fascicularis

 

Crassula fascicularis Olifantsbos September 2020
Crassula fascicularis
Olifantsbos September 2020

 

All indigenous. Sneaking in next are Australian wattle Acacia saligna and cosmopolitan Trifolium angustifolium. Much further down the first animal is a honey bee, trailed by a tortoise, with sacred ibis and kelp gull.

Cape Town's Bioblitz October 2021 species

 

Sacred ibis His picture Zeekoevlei June 2017
Sacred ibis
His picture
Zeekoevlei June 2017

 

Stepping across our border to cover Southern Africa with Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Kenya. Brings Wachendorfia paniculata and Mimetes cucullatus. First animal pairs honey bees and Egyptian geese. With that same Acacia and clover trailing as first aliens.

Southern Africa's Bioblitz October 2021 species

 

Wachendorfia paniculata Mule Track October 2019
Wachendorfia paniculata
Mule Track October 2019

 

Even further to the whole Southern hemisphere. Reaching across the great Southern oceans to South America, Australia and New Zealand. Turns the focus to animals. The first two are honey bees (but I wouldn't include hived and managed bees as 'wild' animals) and Australian magpies, with a dove and Chilean lapwing in the first 10. First plant (elbowing Cape fynbos aside) is Australian milkmaids, their chocolate lily is fifth.

Great Southern Bioblitz October 2021 species

 

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Comments

  1. You live in an incredible part of the world, Diana. I'm in love with both Crassula fascicularis and Wachendorfia paniculata, neither of which I can remember seeing before (certainly not here). I have grown a variety of Pelargonium cucullatum, though - it borders on invasive here but it's manageable if you keep on top of it. I also grow the bush sage, still most commonly know as Salvia africana-lutea here.

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  2. I would love to have a walk with proteas in them Diana! I was involved in a bioblitz at Westonbirt arboretum and walked with a couple of moss and lichen experts. Their introduction to biodiversity through a hand lens was quite an eye opener.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have this lovely lady from Lithuania on iNat. She IDs lichens for us
      across the world.
      https://www.inaturalist.org/people/1369015

      Delete
  3. How wonderful! Autumn is very much in full swing here in Mid Wales... The leaves are golden and falling, and there's not much flowering (apart from a rose) in the garden.

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  4. Bioblitz, that's a lovely idea to get people more aware of the wonders of the natural world.

    Your Gnidia is a stunning blue! Several of the others are quite familiar to Southern California gardeners. I remember from childhood Zantedeschia to be very common--I rarely see it here now. Leucospermum once unheard of is more common--a treasure to be sure.

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    Replies
    1. That is reassuring - I have seen nightmare pictures of Californian valleys SMOTHERed in our arum lilies - never see them like that here. It is - in damp hollows, or along streams, and popping up in gardens.

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  5. For once there are a few plants that I am familiar with such as the Arum Lily which I had in my last garden. I think I remember you saying it grew beside streams, which explained why it always disappeared in a dry summer (and then again disappeared during cold winters). But it always came back again. I also know Briza maxima and saw that in the wild here in southern France for the first time - it's a garden plant further north. I love all your native plants and birds, they seem to be so colourful!

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