FoTH CREW Report-back for Oct to Dec 2017, January 2018
6 October, Friday: Outing to Langerug, Boland Agricultural High School Reserve, Wellington, an important site for Leucadendron stellare CR. We were able to add 52 more species to the plant list. Special of those were Lachenalia contaminata NT and Indigofera psoraloides EN.
13 October: Van Schoorsdrift site near the Ostrich Farm off the N7 and the Morning Star Airfield. Specials added were Lampranthus tenuifolius CR, Gethyllis ciliaris ciliaris NT, Protea scolymocephala VU, as well as a total of 56 newly seen species.
20 October: Joostenbergkloof East a site now under the management of City of Cape Town Biodiversity Branch. This was our first visit to this corner of the site. We recorded 133 species here, 14 of which are red data with Cliffortia acockiae, Watsonia strictiflora, Podalyria microphylla all CR endangered.
27 October: Banghoek Conservancy, Old Bethlehem Farm, Stellenbosch: A first visit by us to this site belonging to the Simonsberg Conservancy. A total of 143 plant species were listed, 5 of which are red-listed. No CREW is working so far in the Stellenbosch area, we find it important to try and include these sites especially after burns to check the upcoming vegetation.
9 November: Van Schoorsdrift 23 plant species were newly added, of which 5 are red-listed: Heterorhachis aculeata VU, first time ever seen by us in our areas, as well as Lampranthus reptans, Aspalathus recurva, Aspalathus ternata, Lachnaea grandiflora
10 November: Langerug: We noted 20 additional plant species, one of which is Pelargonium viccifolium EN, bringing the total to 36 red data seen on this site over 5 visits, with 290 species recorded so far. Troubling is the large number of game on the site and the sustainability of the vegetation thus impacted.
17 November: Wemmershoekvlei. We noted with concern the explorational drilling for water by the City of Cape Town in the most sensitive part of the wetland, the site where Erica alexandri, Erica bakeri and Diastella buekii (all CR) are growing. Further up the hill we found Merciera tenuifolia VU and a Lampranthus sp (sent in to Compton Herbarium for identification). A total of 470 species have been listed here, with 26 red data of which 5 are endangered and 6 are CR endangered.
1 December: Paarl Mnt NR, annual demographic monitoring of Argyrolobium angustifolium CR with Ismail Ebrahim as well as checking out a nearby site for this elusive Pea.
FOTH CREW report-back for January 2018
12 January Van Schoorsdrift A quick visit with Abraham Saaiman to check out a possibly new Albuca sp resulted in an observation of Phylica thunbergiana EN and Macrostylis villosa villosa EN flowering at this time. The Albuca is presently being queried with John Manning. A total of 251 spp listed so far for this site of which 24 are red-listed
26 January Briers Louw NR Demographic monitoring of Metalasia schlechteri helped by the SANBI CREW. All of the 70 monitored plants were checked for their status and those not listed previously were added. Of the approximately 100 plants listed now, 26 are dead, 17 could not be found, 21 plants not, or poorly flowering. The prognosis is not good for this species which we have not found anywhere else so far.
FOTH CREW REPORT FOR 2017
FOTH CREW is an active group of 7 dedicated members, three of which (headed by Petra Broddle) are also part of the BCA CREW. One of our group, Jan Wicht, keeps an eye on various sites in the Durbanville area so there is more time for FOTH to venture forth looking at areas unsupported by CREW or to assist other CREW groups starting up. Our way of operating is to look at the total vegetation of a site and to list all the plants we recognize. Every visit is recorded, newly seen plants added, giving an overall picture of diversity over time. We additionally note the phenology of species, so it is possible to see when they are no longer there.
Our main concern in 2017 was the decline of Metalasia schlechteri CR, a plant we had discovered in February 2012 at Briers Louw NR, Agter Paarl and which we had been monitoring since 2013. Due to the drought many of these 70 plants were dying or dead. Those surviving had not produced sufficient or viable seed. Although we have been looking around this plant only seems to grow on this site and nowhere else.
A site close by is Langerug Private NR, belonging to the Boland Agricultural High School in Agter Paarl. We did not find the endangered Metalasia here but discovered a flourishing population of Leucadendron stellare CR and were encouraged by the site’s diversity to do further visits through the year. This resulted in a plant list recording 290 species of which 36 species are Red Data e.g. Pelargonium viccifolium EN, Moraea versicolor VU, Lachenalia contaminata . Troubling here is the large amount of game and its impact on the vegetation.
Wemmershoekvlei was visited in April to check the burn of 2 years back. We saw new growth of Erica alexandri CR flowering, which was reassuring as everything else was very dry and the wetland totally dried up.
On a visit in November we noted with concern the explorational drilling for water by the City of Cape Town in the most sensitive part of the wetland, the site where Erica alexandri, Erica bakeri and Diastella buekii (all CR) are growing. Lampranthus schlechteri CR was found flowering in the white sands slightly higher up. So far a total of 470 species have been listed here, with 26 red data of which 5 are EN and 6 CR endangered.
The Botanical survey on Tygerberg Hill is ongoing: The object was and still is to assess the effect of the drought on the vegetation: We were happy to see Geissorhiza erosa EN in a mass display with Lachenalia mediana mediana VU and Babiana fragrans NT close by.
We joined Swartland CREW for two visits to “Heuningberg” an isolated mountain ridge between Riebeek West and Porterville. Although our visit end of September was already too late for spring flowering we managed to find remnants of Babiana secunda, Pelargonium chelidonium and Moraea tulbahensis all EN.
Another outing with the Swartland CREW went to “Die Eiland” at 24-Rivieren near Porterville to assess and record the spring flowers there. This Swartland Shale Renosterveld site was absolutely pristine and a joy to visit. More visits over the seasons are required here.
New sites visited in 2017:
Klapmuts Water Works Treatment Plant proved rewarding: we discovered Geissorhiza purpurascens EN growing there between the Port Jackson as well as Protea burchellii VU and Leucadendron lanigerum EN. This is a site that needs more of our input and will be revisited in 2018.
Van Schoorsdrift halfway to Malmesbury, off the N7: This now falls under the Greater Tygerberg Area and huge efforts are being made to restore it, clearing the alien vegetation and and fencing the site. Some of the Specials seen were Lampranthus tenuifolius CR in various shades, Gethyllis ciliaris ciliaris NT and Heterorhachis aculeata VU (a first for us).
Banghoek Conservancy, Old Bethlehem Farm, Stellenbosch. No CREW is working so far in the Stellenbosch area, we find it important to try and include these sites especially after burns to check the upcoming vegetation. One of the species seen was Skiatophyton tripolium VU
Our year ended with the Annual Demographic Monitoring on Paarl Mnt NR of Argyrolobium angustifolium CR with Ismail Ebrahim and Randal. Tiny plants, difficult to find, some with flowers were looked for and measured.
Summary for 2017: 40 visits were made to 25 sites.
THANK YOU TO ALL!