South African Fynbos | Ingrini
Fynbos is special to South Africa for so many reasons. Not only does it stretch from the mountains of Western to Eastern Cape, but it is capable of surviving in the toughest, nutrient-deficient soil and hard climate conditions in South Africa.
As I’ve mentioned before, the word Fynbos originates from an Old Dutch word Fijnbosch, meaning ‘fine bush’ , referring to how thin it looks and growing in an irregular, untidy way. Most fynbos plants have small leaves and are shrubs.
The world is divided into six regions called floral kingdoms (floristic regions). Each region is uniquely special. The Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest floristic region in the world but it has the highest number of different types (species) of plants of any floral kingdom. It is also the only floral kingdom that is found entirely in one country. The main type of vegetation in the Cape Floral Kingdom is fynbos.
Fynbos plants have adapted to the challenging conditions of the mountains, thriving in micro-environments and with only millimetres of rain.
Many people in the Overberg (Western Cape) earn a living from the region’s wild flowers. Some pick flowers for markets to sell, remove invasive alien plants, and/or are involved in conservation, nature tourism and education; but the greatest reason South Africa is so protective over Fynbos is the need to keep water flowing out of Cape Town’s taps.
Fynbos-covered mountains are responsible for delivering one glass of water in five in South Africa. Some of the wettest places in the country are wild, soggy mountain tops covered in rare proteas.
Fynbos allows up to 80% of the rainwater to run into and fill rivers and reservoirs. Had most of the mountains been covered in more luscious trees, 70% of the rain would be absorbed by them.
With the most of the Western Cape suffering water crisis, it is as important to remove alien trees and preserve fynbos in order for water to be delivered to the province.
Ingrini would like to give a big thank you to the following sources who provided very insightful information in order to write this post: