Wildflower wonderland

Natural beauty, the Malgaslelie.

Carina Lochner, Helderberg

Members of Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) monitor rare and endangered plants in the veld but also in parks and open spaces.

One of our members has been keeping an eye on these plants in a park in Westridge for a few years, but has never seen them in flower (we see the distinctive leaves later during the year). A couple of weeks ago she let me know that the Malgaslelie are in flower, and what a sight. And they have a lovely fragrance too.

When I went to photograph them, I met Tihanna and Gerhard le Roux, who were there with their mom, and captured these lovely images of them enjoying the display. They are pupils at De Hoop.

In summer this park is very dry and doesn’t look very promising, but in spring many wildflowers pop up, some of them red-listed.

We have an agreement with the municipality not to mow during the growing season. This is one of the last places where these wildflowers can still be seen in residential areas, and we need to educate the public so that they will understand why some parks are not being mown.

It is a privilege to still be able to see these plants on our doorstep and we must do everything we can to preserve them for future generations otherwise names like bobbejaantjie, kalkoentjie, viooltjie and kalossie will mean nothing to them.

Ammocharis longifolia occurs over a wide area from southern Namibia to Bonnievale. The common name is derived from Malgas on the Breede river, where they grow abundantly (for more information, see http://pza.sanbi.org/ammocharis-longifolia).

It is not redlisted as endangered but because of development in our area, they are not so common anymore.

If people want to find out more about CREW, they can visit the SANBI website at www.sanbi.org