The Cape Floral Kingdom Is Our Heritage

The variety of flora in the Cape Floral Kingdom is immense and changes constantly as you move through the 78,555 km² biome. It is one of the richest areas of plants in the world and, as one of South Africa’s eight heritage sites, stretches from the Cape Peninsula all the way up to the Eastern Cape.

On Saturday 24 September, South Africa will celebrate Heritage Day.

While it is a day citizens “across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people” together we can celebrate something we have found ourselves naturally surrounded by: The Cape Floral Kingdom.

And The Cape Town Flower Show aims to do just that in October.

De Hoop Nature Reserve - Western Cape - South Africa

Most of the biome’s 9 000 plant species are tiny and easily missed and it takes an expert or enthusiast to realise how much variety is really there.

Unfortunately, it is thought that the Cape Floral Kingdom is experiencing one of the most rapid rates of extinction in the world due to habitat loss, land degradation, and invasive alien plants.

picraw771walking-trail-through-grootbos-lr

Here’s a bit about the plants:

Fynbos plants are characterised by tough, leathery leaves and include proteas, ericas and seven plant families found nowhere else in the world. Most plants have small, thin (ericoid) leaves.

Ericas, or heaths, number 600 different species. Although the most striking feature of the fynbos is its numerous proteaceae (proteas), ericaceae (ericas) and restionaceae (reed family), the largest family in terms of species is asteraceae (daisies), with just fewer than 1 000 species.

Fynbos is also populated by geophytes (bulbs) such as babiana, freesia, gladiolus, iris, moraea, sporaxis and watsonia.

It’s not only flora the region protects, it’s fauna, too.

The Cape Floral Kingdom has 11 000 marine animal species, 3 500 of which are endemic, and 560 vertebrate species, including 142 reptile species, of which 27 are endemic.

west-coast-floral

The Cape Town Flower Show not only recognises the diverse and unique beauty of the Kingdom, but hopes to use the Flower Show in October to celebrate it, honour it, and educate others about it.

It is set to become South Africa’s leading flower show with the aim to artistically display the brilliant diversity of the Cape’s flora; inspire its visitors to value their outdoor spaces and environment; and provide a platform for the local horticultural industry to promote itself. You can read more about the event HERE.

We hope this weekend, when you look at the natural areas that surround you, you appreciate every aspect of it, from the tiny flowers, to the silver leaves.

Have a blooming good one and we will see you in October!