Herbs - Newsletter of Hermanus Botanical Society
Fernkloof Nature Reserve
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WILDFLOWER FESTIVAL - A REPEAT PERFORMANCE
With memories of a resounding success in 2002, our society will
hold its Wildflower Festival again the week before the Whale Festival from Saturday 20 September to the Wednesday holiday
24 September 2003 - five days of floral, environmental and
Besides the wealth of wildflowers on display, the Eco Fair marquee
will host specially-invited crafters and conservation projects, including
a taste of indigenous edible plant delicacies, a photographic exhibition,
a look at the reserve courtesy of our own special website
www.fernkloof.com and a mini afro-montane forest.
The latter is the start of a major and much-needed project - the
signage of trees from the Botanical Centre to the top of Assegaibos, which will be funded from proceeds from the Flower Show section.
The Wildflower Association in conjunction with Cape Nature Conservation has laid down stringent rules this year as to
the keeping of financial records, the spending of at least half of the flower show proceeds on a specific conservation project, the picking, arranging and selling of wild flowers . Our society has been chosen
as a role model for our careful conservation-minded picking methods.
Your help is welcome, particularly for picking and helping in the marquee. Please contact section heads at the telephone numbers below to join in the fun. Alternatively come to the festival and
bring your friends.
FERNKLOOF HAS ITS OWN MOSS FROG
AND YOU THOUGHT FERNKLOOF WAS ALL ABOUT FLOWERS. But there is a visitor who comes for another
very small reason - a little frog the size of a finger nail called
Arthroleptella drewesii or the Drewes' moss frog.
She is Dr Abeda Dawood, of the Department of Zoology and Entomology and Centre for Environmental Studies at the University
of Pretoria. Corrie Lucas met up with her at the Visitors' Centre one Sunday morning and learned that she was one of the discoverers of
this little frog in Fernkloof in 1994 together with Professor Alan Channing and Dr Denver Hendricks, all from UWC at the time.
Moss frogs, according to Abeda, are very small cryptic frogs endemic
to South Africa. There are five species in the Western Cape and two
in KwaZulu Natal. They have a very interesting life-cycle as they are direct developers; they develop directly from eggs to froglets and
skip the tadpole stage.
Our moss frog, Arthroleptella drewesii was named for Professor
R C Drewes of the California Academy of Sciences, who collected
the holotype or specimen on which the description was based.
It is a small frog, just exceeding 20mm in length, and
morphologically indistinguishable from the other species in the
Western Cape. However, the male advertisement call is quite distinct. The call consists of a series of more or less evenly spaced clicks.
Five to ten single or double clicks are produced in .7 seconds.
They call from ledges on moss covered or grassy slopes, often
concealed under vegetation, often in the vicinity of waterfalls.
The species was also found to differ genetically from the other specimens in the Western Cape in a recent phylogenetic study
using DNA sequences (Dawood and Channing 2000). Its
distribution is Fernkloof and adjacent wet areas on the Kleinrivier mountains above 200m, although further fieldwork may extend its
Its conservation status is near threatened - so tread carefully when
the rain comes down and you hear the moss frogs clicking.
Scientific references available from editor on request.
HERMANUS CYCADIANS - ATTENTION PLEASE!
Cycads (Encephalartos spp) do extremely well in Hermanus.
Many of us have cone-bearing cycads in our gardens. As there are
male and female plants with the corresponding cones and not all
of us have both in our gardens, the seeds of the female plants are
unfertile and consequently lost for propagation.
The idea behind the Hermanus cycadians is to endeavour to
pollinate the female cones and grow the fertile seeds in our
indigenous nursery at Fernkloof.
What we need to know:
- who has cone-bearing cycads
- whether they are male (cones stay whole) or female (the cones disintegrate when the seeds are ripe)
- what species they are. If you don't know not a problem. We will identify them. We will then arrange for pollen to be collected from male cones, store it and pollinate the females when they are ready. Later we will arrange for the collection of the fertile seeds and grow them at Fernkloof. Please let Jack Bold at the nursery know if you have cone-bearing cycads and any other pertinent details.
DID YOU KNOW?
Theme of this year's flower show will be "Sonop - Sononder" with floral colours ranging from a pale sunrise coastal landscape to
midday sunshine yellow and deepening to a fiery sunset scene.
Fernkloof website news: Thanks to Hazel Smithers for contributing
the interesting section on mammals in Fernkloof. The illustrations
and information are from Land Mammals of Southern Africa, a field guide by her husband Dr R H N Smithers and artist Clare Abbott.
Dr Smithers was Director of Museums in Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia,
and wrote his major work Mammals of the Southern African Sub-
region at Pretoria University.
Another new addition: Fernkloof birds , courtesy of the Hermanus Bird Club.
Conservation student Jason Wepener has discovered a rare and endangered species Brachysiphon rupestris in Fernkloof.
Brachysiphon rupestris - photo by Christine Wakfer Cliff Path Management Group under David Beattie is proposing a wheelchair-friendly path between Kwaaiwater and Kraal Rock and also at Westcliff. Mathia Schwegler of Farm Heidehof, near Baardskeerdersbos, will be at our Wildflower Festival to personally promote her new book Medicinal and other uses of Southern Overberg Fynbos Plants. She will be bringing with her her neighbour's sourfig preserve for sale. Mathia, who speaks six languages, takes visitors to her farm for hikes among fossilized dunes and limestone hills where rare fynbos species occur. She is a dedicated member of the Gansbaai section of the Fynbos Ecotourism Forum. New beautiful roads in Mallorca, Spain, are lined with standard trees - of Port Jackson!
|HACKING MEETS :||08:00||September - March|
|08:30||April - August|
|Tuesdays (third of each month) :||August 19|
|No September hack|
|For further information contact Bob Hill||028-3121463|
OTHER SOCIAL EVENTS :
|August 12-14||EXCURSION: Goudini spa
|August 20||08:30||Napier tractor ride. Meet Municipality.
R30 for tractor ride; R40 potjiekos.
Phone Nancy 028-3140186 if no potjiekos wanted.
|September 13||08:00||DAY WALK: Fynbosrant private nature reserve, near Caledon|
|September 20-24||FERNKLOOF: Wildflower Festival|
|October 17||20:00||FERNKLOOF: Dr S du Toit: Base camp, Everest|
|October 20 -22||EXCURSION: De Hoop Nature Reserve|
|November 28||20:00||FERNKLOOF: Max Leipold: Fabulous photographs|
|December 16||18:00||FERNKLOOF: Chairman's Walk. Bring
|For further information re walks please contact Piet Joubert||tel 028-3140264|
|Published by Hermanus Botanical Society,
PO Box 208,
Editor: GERALDINE GARDINER - Fax (028) 3130617