Know, grow, protect and enjoy South Africa's indigenous plants
Location: Overberg, Western Cape, South Africa
Southern Overberg Branch
This branch, which has about 60 members today, is involved in alien-clearing initiatives across the greater Agulhas Plain, as well as with successfully securing stewardship sites with farmers as well as the local municipality. The branch raises awareness of their local flower heritage by arranging talks and outings for members.
About the branch
This branch has its roots in a flower club, the Bredasdorp Blomskool started in 1980, which then became a branch of BotSoc after members were motivated to disprove a UCT lecturer’s declaration that the area was “botanically uninteresting”. They certainly did that, contributing to the conservation of the area’s rich natural heritage in many ways.
About the Area
Encompassing the southern tip of Africa, the branch footprint includes De Hoop Nature Reserve and the Agulhas National Park, as well as greater Bredasdorp, Swellendam and Gansbaai. This is an area of rich floral diversity. Many types of fynbos are found in the Southern Overberg, such as Acid sand fynbos, Limestone fynbos, and critically endangered Elim Ferricrete. Through the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust, farmers across the Southern Overberg are increasingly signing up their small portions of undeveloped land as stewardship/easement sites to protect highly endangered Renosterveld sites in perpetuity. The major difference between fynbos and Renosterveld is that, where fynbos is found on nutrient poor soils, Renosterveld soils are fertile and have therefore been almost entirely converted to the growing of canola, wheat, etc. This species-rich vegetation is now mostly only found on steep slope or rocky sites.
The Southern Overberg boasts about 2 500 species of flora, of which 300 are endemic to the area. Erica recurvata (about 40 known plants) and Cyrtanthus guthrieae (only found in the mountain range above Bredasdorp) are two of the most rare endemics found in this area.
After years of trials and fundraising, the branch published the area’s very first wildflower guide in 1997. It can be found at the bookshop at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
Although without a local botanical garden, the area hasa number of notable reserves:
– Agulhas National Park,
– De Hoop Nature Reserve,
– Grootbos Private Nature Reserve,
– Heuningberg Nature Reserve, and
– Salmonsdam Nature Reserve.
There are also many conservancies across the area, participating in wonderful alien-clearing initiatives.
The Southern Overberg has a dedicated CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) group who has most notably raised substantial funds to preserve pristine Renosterveld outside Napier and rediscovered lost species such as Erica recurvata!
Contact the Branch Chair
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Monday to Friday 08h30 to 16h00. Closed on weekends and public holidays.
T +27 (0) 21 797 2090
Or contact us by sending a Whatsapp message to +27 65 922 6163 during our office hours.