HEADER ECOLOGY FIRE

Accompanied by gale force winds a fire swept through a large area of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve on the afternoon of 11th January.  Flames raced across the mountains consuming everything in their path, leaving a smoking blackened landscape of devastation behind.

Members of the Hermanus Botanical Society will be involved in monitoring the regrowth. Species are recorded, photographed and many are tagged with a GPS reading. Data collected will be compared with previous fires.

It is hard to imagine the robust regrowth waiting in the wings.  Two weeks almost to the day Fire Lilies, Cyrtanthus ventricosus, were in full bloom and were beautiful for a short period of time before wilting away to sleep another ten years or more.

In March the burnt slopes were covered in yellow Moraeas, Moraea pyrophila, and these will also not be seen in bloom until after the next fire; pyr, (G), = fire; philos, (G), = loving, friendly; referring to the plant's germination triggered off by fire.

Flashes of bright red indicate the presence of the resprouting Erica cerinthoides, the Fire Heath, which flowers in great abundance after fire but can also be found flowering for many years post-fire.

Asparagus rubicundus and Asparagus lignosus have flowered and are already beginning to produce their fleshy seed capsules. The daisies Haplocarpha lanata, Mairia coriacea and Osteospermum tomentosum have also produced their fluffy seeds ready for germination after the autumn rains, the flowers of the latter two will also not be seen again until after the next fire.

Bulbous plants are beginning to show their leaves, the Oxalis are beginning to flower, seedlings are germinating and much more is to be explored over the coming months.

Watch this page as we record the miraculous regeneration of the fynbos.             

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