Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Cape Floral Kingdom

A rare white King Protea
The Cape Floral Kingdom is one of only six in the world. It is easily the world’s smallest as it encompasses only about 4% of the southern Africa land area and exists solely within South Africa. In contrast, the Holarctic kingdom incorporates the whole of the northern hemisphere north of the tropics.
The plant diversity here is comparable to tropical rain forests. In its small area, more than 8000 plant species exist. About 6200 of those species are endemic to this small stretch of South Africa within 100-200 km of the coastline. That is more than then entire United Kingdom. The Netherlands which is ¾ the size of the Cape Floral Kingdom has only 1400 species and none of them are endemic. 

Amazingly, the Table Mountain area includes over 2000 species just within its small area.
The general name for most of these plants is fynbos. Fynbos, which means fine-leaved bush, includes protea (over 350 species), pelargoniums, ericas (over 625 species just in the southwestern cape), reeds, and irises, most of which are endemic to the area. About 30 species of erica exist in the rest of the world.

Bird of Paradise

I am afraid I don’t know the names of most of the flowers in these pictures, but hope you will enjoy seeing some of them.

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