Blog Entry #23: South Africa Day 4: Fynbos!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
As I have alluded to in previous entries, one of the fascinating things we have encountered in South Africa is the native vegetation, the fynbos. We are especially fortunate to have arrived here at the outset of the South African spring, as everything is green and everything is in bloom. Here’s how Wikipedia introduces fynbos:
|Fynbos blooming above Volmoed Community|
Fynbos (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈfəinbɒs], or anglicised as /ˈfeɪnbɒs/) is the natural shrubland or heathland vegetation occurring in a small belt of the Western Cape of South Africa, mainly in winter rainfall coastal and mountainous areas with a Mediterranean climate. The Fynbos ecoregion is within the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome. The word fynbos is the Afrikaans for "fine bush", referring to the thin leaves.
“Fynbos has more diversity of species than in a tropical rainforest. There are 9000 species of fynbos occurring in the Cape area; over 2000 species on Table Mountain alone – which is more plant species than occur in the whole United Kingdom.”
I’m convinced that Theodore Seuss Geisel, the author of the Dr. Seuss books I grew up on, must have visited South Africa, for his wonderful collection of odd plants and flowers seem drawn directly from the fynbos we see blooming here.
|BabilonsToring ("Tower of Babylon") and Fynbos blooming|
As I hiked to the top of the ridge behind Volmoed yesterday, I couldn’t get more than a few feet before having to pause to marvel at yet another strangely shaped plant with brilliant blossoms.
My favorites were the red giant protea that looks like it is out of “Little Shop of Horrors” and the yellow relative that covers the hillsides here, and coated the top of Table Mountain when we climbed it on our return to Capetown.