The Ixia Versicolor, or the Flats Kolossie, is a critically endangered flower that exists only in two different known locations. One of them is none other than the Onse Jan Park, situated right next to Beaumont Primary School.
This flower used to be distributed right across the entire Gordon’s Bay area, but due to the expansion of built areas, it is now only found in this park and one other place, which is why we need to do something about it.
You might be thinking: Why does it only grow in this park, and why can’t we just move it to a protected environment, like Helderberg Nature Reserve?
Well, I held an interview with two of the members of CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers), and they explained to me that the answer is simple.
The vegetation type, or type of earth that we have at the park, differs slightly to that in the Nature Reserve, which obviously means that the Ixia wouldn’t survive if it was moved or transplanted to a different area.
There are many problems to this situation, one of them being that the flower isn’t exactly safe in the two remaining locations that serve as its habitat.
The Onse Jan Park is neighboured by Beaumont Primary School. Every afternoon when the bell rings to signal the end of the school day, the parents of hundreds of children come to fetch them.
This results in many parents in cars becoming impatient and using the Onse Jan Park as a shortcut.
I think you can imagine what it would be like if such a large amount of cars drove over the flowers each day.
Another problem is that the municipality sends workers to cut the grass of the Onse Jan Park every now and again to e nsure that it doesn’t seem wild or badly maintained.
So, being oblivious to the fact that there are rare flowers blooming in the park, they used to cut the grass at the exact wrong time of the year – when the flowers are creating more flowers, and if you cut the grass, you cut the flowers too.
Because of this, the numbers of flowers growing in the park have been dwindling steadily year by year.
Luckily, CREW did notify the municipality and the results were fruitful. Instead of cutting the grass when the flowers are in full bloom, they started cutting it at different times of the year.
This season, the flowers blossomed more beautiful than ever and could be found in wide patches all across the park – all thanks to the fact that the grass wasn’t cut at the wrong time.
Of course, the Ixia isn’t the only flower – there are plenty of others, it’s just that the Ixia is the most critically endangered.
Some of the things that we can do to rectify this problem includes raising awareness about the flowers so that people will be careful in the park – not drive over it, not litter and not complain about uncut grass, because, after all, it isn’t that the municipality is neglecting its duty, it’s just helping to protect an endangered flower.
Another thing we can do is to make sure that nothing else is built there – no sports fields or buildings, because that would mean the destruction of the flower.
So tell your friends and family about this, because (and I quote one of the members of CREW) if we only focus on saving the big endangered things, such as the rhinoceros, we will lose all of these small things, and then we will be much poorer without them.