by Zoë Poulsen - Cape Town Botanist | Jan 10, 2018 | Botanic Gardens, Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, Cape Floristic Region, Cape Peninsula, Cederberg, Conservation, Ecology, Endangered Species, Ethnobotany, Fynbos, Hiking, Landscape History, Mountains, Plant Profiles, Pollination, Proteaceae, Proteas, Renosterveld
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. Proteas 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.
by Zoë Poulsen - Cape Town Botanist | May 9, 2016 | Cape Floristic Region, Cape Peninsula, Ethnobotany, Fynbos, Indigenous Foods, Research
It is well known that growing your own food is one of the greatest moves that we can make towards eating truly green and sustainably. It cuts the food miles and puts people in control of their own diet destiny in a world where often some of the most ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ large scale supermarket brands still contain ingredients sprayed with vast numbers of chemicals and shipped across the globe, generating a huge carbon footprint. Many people have taken the initiative in the face of these challenges and gardens and allotments brim with lovingly tended carrots and cabbage destined for local dinner tables.
by Zoë Poulsen - Cape Town Botanist | Dec 1, 2015 | Botanic Gardens, Conservation, Ecology, Endangered Species, Ethnobotany, Geophytes, Landscape History, Namaqualand, Renosterveld, Succulent Karoo, Travel
“I’m chilling in the tent…..in both senses”. Camping on Namaqualand’s Bokkeveld Plateau in August is not for the faint hearted or those lacking in strong constitution as we were soon to discover! At that time of year it is COLD! Snow on the nearby Hantamsberg is not uncommon in winter and spring and known locally as ‘kapok’ meaning cotton in Afrikaans.
by Zoë Poulsen - Cape Town Botanist | Apr 10, 2015 | Botanic Gardens, Cape Floristic Region, Cape Peninsula, Endangered Species, Ethnobotany, Fynbos, Indigenous Foods, Kirstenbosch
The Kirstenbosch Plant Fair is a long held tradition and this year heralds the 40th one held since its relatively humble beginnings. Dirk Muller, Chairman of the Kirstenbosch Branch of BotSoc, recalls attending the first plant fair in 1975 which saw eager members queuing up at 6:30am in the morning prior to the opening and by 11am every plant on sale had marched out the door in the hands of inspired and enthused growers.
by Zoë Poulsen - Cape Town Botanist | Jan 7, 2015 | Conservation, Ecology, Endangered Species, Ethnobotany, Fire, Forest, Hiking, Mountains, Travel
Sometimes living life on a student budget drives one to do things a little out of the ordinary in the name of travel and exploration. One of the university societies that has inspired and challenged me the most is the University of Cape Town’s Mountain and Ski Club. It is one of the largest mountain clubs in Africa, second only to the Cape Town branch of the MCSA. One of its core philosophies is to encourage and support its members in exploration of the diverse and exquisitely beautiful mountain ranges of the Southern African subcontinent.
by Zoë Poulsen - Cape Town Botanist | Jun 14, 2014 | Cape Peninsula, Ecology, Ethnobotany, Forest
Last weekend I went foraging in the forest for my dinner. Inspired by my adventure, this week we will be taking a leap from the Plant Kingdom to the far lesser-known but equally fascinating world of fungi. I was lucky enough to be one of the first participants in a new mushroom foraging course run by the Cape of Good Hope Nurseries. In the capable hands of Ismail Smith, local artist and mushroom hunter extraordinaire, we spent a wonderful and highly informative Sunday morning exploring among the pine trees of Tokai Plantation in Cape Town in search of edible mushrooms to fill our baskets and cooking pots.