Fynbos, Plants, Flowers & Cape Floral Kingdom, Western Cape, South Africa
Fynbos forms a small, yet the richest part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of six Floral Kingdoms of the World. The Cape Floral Kingdom occupies only 0.04% of the world’s landmass and was classified as a World Heritage Site in Christmas 2004.
Fynbos consists mainly of the Protea, Erica, and Restio families. One of the 1,600 Protea species, the King Protea, is the National Flower of South Africa.
In 1735, the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus named the Protea after Proteus, a mythological Greek God who could change his shape at will, for the members of this plant group are enormously varied in form, size and habitat.
The tallest species of the Protea family, the Silver Tree, grows to a height of 10 to 16 metres. Legend has it that it will flourish only in sight of Table Mountain, Cape Town, but the Silver Tree has in fact been successfully cultivated in other countries.
Climate change, urban sprawl and alien-species invasion are threats to Cape Town’s fynbos. Conservationists in the Cape Province are using data gathered by hundreds of volunteers in a long term study to save fynbos. A recent study of hundreds of species of the Protea estimates that this plants abundance will decrease by more than 60% by 2050. Some of the Protea family have already become extinct in the Western Cape.
All these precious plant species of Fynbos and other plants like “Mesembs” or vygies (succulent plants); with a great variety of indigenous trees, can be viewed on a leisured stroll in the very well organized Botanical Gardens located in the Western Cape Province. Other areas that display plant tapestries of colour and beauty are along the Cape West Coast of Namaqualand, including the towns of Clanwilliam, Darling, Citrusdal and Langebaan. When these many different flowers bloom it is known to be one of the most magnificent natural splendors you could ever experience to see.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in Cape Town, (voted one of the seven most beautiful botanical gardens in the world), Harry Porter Botanical Garden in Betty’s Bay and Fernkloof Garden in Hermanus are easily accessible and offer not only many varieties and information on all of plants and trees, but also hiking trails and tea gardens for refreshments.
Fernkloof also hosts an annual Flower Festival every September, to show-case the myriad of species.
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