This blog comes from Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities at the south-western tip of the African continent.

Of Myths and Fishing Nets: Searching for  Disas at Harold Porter

Of Myths and Fishing Nets: Searching for Disas at Harold Porter

It is that wonderful time again, when the intense red orchid Disa uniflora (Red Disa or Pride of Table Mountain) come into bloom. There is no South African flower that shouts ‘summer’ to me more than this. They grow on stream banks, next to waterfalls and on wet shady precipitous cliffs from the Cape Peninsula eastwards to Bredasdorp in the Overberg and northwards to the Cederberg. The genus is named after Queen Disa, a character from Swedish mythology who according to legend presented herself to the King of Sveas wearing only a fishing net.

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Proteas: An Introduction

Proteas: An Introduction

The genus Protea is one of the most well-known and charismatic of the Cape Floristic Region’s (CFR) Fynbos Biome. The King Protea (Protea cynaroides) is South Africa’s national flower. Members of the genus are exported as cut flowers all over the world, prized for their beauty, diversity and longevity. They are often depicted in artwork and are popular garden plants. Members of the genus are also known as Sugarbushes.

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Green Gift ideas for this festive season

Green Gift ideas for this festive season

As the festive season draws closer, consumers are turning their attention to Christmas shopping for their loved ones. The quest for finding the perfect gift can sometimes be a challenging one – Why not consider a green gift? In South Africa we are lucky enough to live in a megadiverse country with some of the world’s richest biodiversity. So why not buy a Christmas gift that supports conservation action and raises awareness of what is on our doorstep? Here we offer up some green gift ideas that are local, sustainable, support conservation and encourage people to get out and experience the beauty of South Africa’s natural world.

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Moraea aristata: A new home on Rondebosch Common

Moraea aristata: A new home on Rondebosch Common

There are many stories of species only just holding on against extinction. One that stands out is that of Moraea aristata. This enigmatic Irid has long been admired. First described in the mid-18th Century by colonial botanical explorers, it quickly found its way into European collections, many of which still persist today. Historical records indicate this Peacock Moraea has always been a narrow endemic. Its natural distribution is the flats adjacent to Table Mountain, between present day Cape Town CBD and Rondebosch.

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Critically Endangered Biodiversity at Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area threatened by development

Critically Endangered Biodiversity at Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area threatened by development

Another precious fragment of our Critically Endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos is under threat. Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area lies at the heart of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs and is the jewel in the crown and most intact fragment of this unique vegetation that is only found within the Greater Cape Town area. This site is of local, national and international biodiversity importance.

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Cape Town is situated on the rugged and mountainous Cape Peninsula, stretching from the iconic profile of Lions Head, Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak in the north to the Cape of Good Hope in the far south. Table Mountain was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the natural world.

What makes the Cape Peninsula so special?

 The Cape is characterised by a type of vegetation known as fynbos, a Mediterranean climate shrubland that is both fire prone and fire dependent. Fynbos is renowned for its phenomenal plant diversity with a total of more than 9,000 species of vascular plants in an area less than the size of Portugal. The Cape Peninsula has 2,285 plant species and Table Mountain alone has almost 1,500 species in just 57 square kilometres.

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Taking Action

There are many environmental organisations based in Cape Town and beyond that require the services of volunteers to undertake their work. So if you have a little time to spare please get involved.

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