New book on South African plants and conservation

Jane McGary
Mon, 08 Nov 2010 09:08:55 PST
The following announcement is being relayed from 
a message sent to me via the PBS website. We 
don't usually make commercial announcements on 
this forum, but this is a publication of a 
nonprofit conservation group, so I thought it 
appropriate to bring it to the attention of our 
many members who enjoy South African bulbs.

>Please could you notify your members and your 
>website readers about this new book, on 
>Limestone Fynbos, published  by the Duiwenshok 
>Conservancy. (We’re a non profit organisation!)
>Limestone Fynbos is an intriguing flora that 
>occurs on our southern coast of South Africa, 
>wherever there are limestone hills or cliffs. 
>Most of the plants occur in a broad sweep from 
>Gansbaai to the Gouritz River, including pockets 
>at Cape Point and Macassar. This flora can be 
>divided into three natural units, Agulhas 
>Limestone, De Hope Limestone and Canca 
>Limestone. In December 2007 the SA Publication, 
>Veld and Flora, published an article on the 
>Agulhas Limestone. The Duiwenhoks Conservancy 
>has added a new aspect to the literature 
>available on this rather unknown flora by 
>publishing a book that describes the Limestone 
>Fynbos of the Vermaaklikheid area, near 
>Heildelberg, which falls in the Canca Limestone unit.
>Limestone Fynbos is floristically very different 
>from other vegetation. The reason for this is 
>that these plants thrive on a soil type that 
>would be toxic to most fynbos plants, which are 
>normally found on acidic or neutral soils.  They 
>grow on limestone soils, which are so alkaline 
>that if you squeeze lemon juice on them they 
>will fizz. It is this alkalinity in the soil 
>that is toxic to most fynbos plants. In a 
>remarkable adaptation to a hostile soil 
>environment, Limestone Fynbos has evolved as a 
>unique flora that shares only a few species in 
>common with sandstone fynbos and sand fynbos. As 
>one would expect from a flora that is confined 
>to such specific soils, many plants are endemic, 
>meaning that they grow only on such soils or even at only one locality.
>At first glance, this little-known flora appears 
>as dry woody scrub. On closer inspection a 
>fascinating array of intriguing and sometimes 
>tiny flowers emerge. Over the past ten years, 
>the author Louisa Oberholzer began collecting, 
>describing and photographing the plants in the 
>Vermaaklikheid area of the Western Cape . The 
>Duiwenhoks Conservancy provided financial 
>support for the identification of the species 
>and finally for the publication of the book, 
>Limestone Fynbos of the Vermaaklikheid Area. It 
>presents a photographic record and description 
>of 124 species. Of particular interest are the 
>intriguing Fabaceae, or pea-like flowers and the 
>pungent buchus, which belong to the Rutacea or citrus family.
>The aim of the publication is to inform the 
>public and particularly landowners about the 
>value of Limestone Fynbos and the importance 
>controlling alien vegetation, which is a major 
>threat to all the fynbos plant communities.
>The book is priced at R130.00 available from the 
>Duiwenhoks Conservancy, 
> and also from 
>the author,
>Kind regards
>Rob Hill
>Duiwenhoks Conservancy

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