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It started off as a routine kind of field trip. With permission from Lhana and Stephen Keyser, we scrambled through the gate and started to make our way up the eastern head of Perdepoort. In 1996, we discovered the 2nd only colony of Mimetes chrysanthus on the western head, amid great excitement.
The first puzzle was a purple Agathosma, which we didn’t recognise. It had something of the scent of A capensis, but the growth habit was very different. I’m going to have to ask Jan Vlok to help us here. He is the only one who might have an answer for us. A little higher up the slope, we saw an Arctotis. Nicky sent pics to Dr Robert McKenzie who is struck down by a particularly virulent flu bug and this is what he said.
“Wow what excitement !!! If I wasn’t dying I’d be jumping up and down on my bed like a two-year-old – it looks like you also found the Swartberg Arctotis sp nov on Friday! Your plants look to have slightly broader leaves and almost all lack very short lateral lobes, unlike Bolus’s 1904/05 collections from Swartberg Pass, but otherwise they look to be the same thing…and certainly different from the Klein Swartberg sp nov…. were the leaves somewhat succulent? And the photos are all excellent – there seems little doubt that it does indeed differ from the other Klein Karoo spp. I only know of three very old collections of it by Bolus and Stokoe, so you’re in very esteemed company! You guys are amazing! Another sp nov that you can claim to have rediscovered! Tell Ismail and Tilla you should get bonus funding for every sp nov you discover/rediscover.”
At the top of the first hill, we were delighted to find Acmadenia maculata (Near Threatened). Very unlike its usual dessicated appearance, it was looking lush and green. This was a very exciting find. A little further on we came across a Harveya that looked for all the world, like a big helping of pink and white candy-floss. Further down, we saw it again and this time were able to id it as Harveya roseoalba from the Vlok boekie. It is Redlisted as Rare. It looks like something out of “The Lord of the Rings” and is a first for the Outramps. It is only known from Attakwasberg and Gamka, so this is a new sub-population. It is a parasite on Hermannia velutina in this instance.
And as if that wasn’t enough, we found a few plants of Erica vlokii. We think this could be a significant range extension. We have previously only found it in Camferskloof. Also, along the way was an Aspalathus with a very peculiar growth habit. It is certainly not one of our usual Aspalathus friends and could be something exciting. This hill can be called Aspalathus heaven. We saw at least 7 species during the day.
It is a bit worrying that Boophone disticha (Declining) is being stripped in this piece of veld. It is extensively used in the traditional medicine trade and someone is certainly using this land as a source. We will monitor this very carefully on an ongoing basis.
On Wednesday WAGS did the hike from De Hoek to the ridge above Bothashoek. It’s the first time that it’s been opened as a day hike and it was a huge success. Everyone really loved it, so thank you Swartberg. We also collected 2 copies of the Vlok Boekie for some of the hikers who are gradually getting interested in the fantastic plants that we have in the area. I managed to do 3 site sheets, so was able to “sing for my supper.”
This week we are off to the Blue Hills in the foothills of the Kouga. The property belongs to the Lee family and Alan Lee the ornithologist, sometimes joins us on field trips. We have never been there before, so we are looking forward to it with some excitement. There has been a recent burn, so we are hoping for some exciting bulbs. We will be away on Wednesday and Thursday.
Groete en dankie
Outramps CREW Group
A Brand New Bus Shelter and Taxi Facility heralds the start of building a resilient and better environment for Residents
Vanwyksdorp can now boast a new and much needed asset. In a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Friday 12 October in Greenhills Vanwyksdorp, the Executive Mayor of Eden officiated the opening ceremony of the Vanwyksdorp bus and taxi shelter kindly sponsored and financed by Mr Pieter Coetzee of Assegaay Bosch Ranch.
For many years, community members waiting for transportation to schools and towns bore the brunt of rainy wet days and scorching sunshine to get to their respective destinations. As a priority need for pupils and the elderly, Mr Pieter Coetzee offered to build a facility which would not only alleviate the situation, but which would have far-reaching benefits in leaving a lasting legacy for the community to take ownership and custodianship of.
Building of the state of the art facility began approximately 2 months ago when the foundations were laid on a vacant plot kindly donated by the Kannaland Municipality. In a very short period of time, the bricks were laid, the windows in and the roof on. The completion of the shelter also included a pretty landscaped garden complete with trees, shrubs, aloes and even beautiful roses, kindly overseen by Pieter’s wife, Hanna Coetzee.
For the GCBR, this marks a concerted contribution to meeting the UNESCO MAB objectives of community development and involvement in a Biosphere Reserve, for which the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere remain eternally grateful to Mr Pieter Coetzee for this incredible gesture to uplift our people in the biosphere domain.
A further thank you needs to be extended to the following people and organisations:
The staff of Assegaay Bosch Ranch who so willingly offered their time and effort to make this project a huge success. Thanks to Jonathan Jantjies for providing the sound system on the day. A special word of thanks to Buks and Marnel for their part in the organisational arrangements, Abie and Jenny for the snacks. A VERY special thank you to the builder George Rex whose meticulous attention to detail created this special facility and who contributed R12 000 towards the project. Another special word of thanks to Hanna Coetzee for the beautiful garden surrounding the bus shelter facility. Thank you to Oubaas Opperman for taking on the responsible task of taking care of the building and maintaining it into the future.
And finally another HUGE thank you to Mr Pieter Coetzee for ensuring a dream come true for many and for truly making such an inspirational gesture of goodwill to the continued humanitarian efforts of all.