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Do you know what an African holly looks like? Or a silky bark tree or even our special assegaaibos and Cape beech (boekenhout)?

Take heart. In the Fernkloof Nature Reserve a Tree Trail will take you from the Botanical Centre to the top of Assegaibos, our special afro-montane forest. The special aluminium signs printed black on silver will give you the common and botanical names and interesting facts about their uses to animals and people alike.

For instance:
* the wild peach Kiggelaria africana has hydrocyanic acid in its leaves so stock or game leave it strictly alone, but the oil-rich aril on the seeds attract many fruit-eating bird species.
*If you rub the fresh leaves of the African holly Ilex mitis together in water, a lather is produced. It is closely related to the European Christmas holly.
*The leaves of the waboom Protea nitida were boiled in water, together with a rusty nail, to produce a fine writing ink. It is believed that Louis Trichardt, the famous Voortrekker leader, wrote his journals using waboom ink.
*The Zulus soak the dry leaves of the tree fuchsia Halleria lucida in winter and squeeze drops into the ear to relieve earache.
*Wood from the Cape beech (Rapanea melanophloeos) was used for making violins and other musical instruments.

Then there is our mountain cedar, Widdringtonia nodiflora, which grows away from the ravines - and looks to the uninitiated for all the world like an alien hakea. BE WARNED! Although not threatened on account of its tough underground root system, do not cut down this special tree in motivated hacking mode. A young stand in the Onrus mountains was cut and poisoned by mistake and will never be seen again.

Not all the trees in this area are indigenous to the South Western Cape, but they have been added to the Tree Trail for general interest. For although Fernkloof is incredibly rich in coastal and montane plant species (1600 occurring naturally in its 1800 ha) only some 30 of these are trees out of a total of more than 700 occurring in South Africa.

These tree communities, known as Afromontane Forest, are generally restricted to moist, sheltered kloofs, protected from the fires which periodically sweep through the Fynbos Biome.

Afromontane Forest is one of seven biomes (the highest level of plant community) found in South Africa. It extends from the Cape Peninsula in isolated pockets along the southern coastal mountains eastwards to Knysna where it covers 60 000 ha. Requiring annual rainfall of some 800mm, it usually grows at altitudes lower than 1000m in South Africa.

As its name implies, Afromontane Forest is associated with the high mountains of Africa and small “forest islands” occur northwards into high elevations in Ethiopia. The same tree species which grow in the kloof in Fernkloof can also be seen in countries to the north.

Below is a list of trees in Fernkloof which have been labelled for the benefit of visitors ( an asterisk will indicate a tree not indigenous to the South Western Cape):


1. Alberta magna * Natal Flame Bush, Breekhout, isiQalaba
2. Bauhinia galpinii * Pride-of-de-Kaap,Vlam-van-de-vlakte
3. Brachylaena neriifolia Kloof brachylaena, Water witels
4. Calodendron capense umBaba, Cape chestnut, Wilde kastaling
5. Cassine peragua umNquayi, Bastard saffronwood, Bastersaffraan
6. Celtis africana Witstinkhout, White or Camdeboo stinkwood/umVuvu
7. Chionanthus foveolatus Fine-leaved ironwood, Fynblaarysterhout
8. Curtisia dentata Assegai tree, umGxina
9. Cunonia capensis Rooiels, Butterspoons, umQwashube
10. Dais cotinifolia * Pompon tree, Kannabas, inTozani
11. Dovyalis caffra * umQokolo, Kei-apple, Kei-appel
12. Ekebergia capensis umGwenyaezinja, Cape ash, Essenhout
13. Ficus sur Cape Fig, Wildevyboom, umKhiwane
14. Greyia sutherlandii * Natal bottlebrush, Natalse baakhout
15. Halleria lucida Tree fuchsia, Notsung, umBinza
16. Harpephyllum caffrum * Wild plum, Wildepruim, umGwenya
17. Ilex mitis African holly, Without, umDuma
18. Kiggelaria africana Wild peach, Wildeperske, umKokoko
19. Leucospermum conocarpodendron Grey tree pincushion, Kreupelhout
20. Maytenus acuminata Silky bark, Sybas, umNama
21. Ochna serrulata * Carnival buhs, Fynblaarrooihout
22. Olea capensis Ironwood, Ysterhout
23. Olea europaea ssp africana Wild olive, Swartolienhout, umNquma
24. Olinia ventosa Hard pear, Hardepeer
25. Osyris compressa Cape sumach, Pruimbas
26. Podalyria calyptrata Waterblossom pea, Waterkeurtjie
27. Podocarpus falcatus Outeniqua yellowwood, Geelhout, umGeya
28. Podocarpus latifolius Real yellowwood, Opregte geelhout, umGeya
29. Protea nitida Waboom, isAdlunge
30. Psoralea pinnata Fountain bush, Fonteinbos
31. Rapanea melanophloeos Cape beech, Kaapse boekenhout, isiQwane sehlathi
32. Rhus lancea Karee,
33. Rhus tomentosa Wild currant, Korentebos
34. Sideroxylon inerme White milkwood, Wit melkhout
35. Tarchonanthus camphoratus Camphor bush, Kamferbos, isiDuli selindle
36. Virgilia oroboides Keurboom
37. Virgilia divaricata *
38. Widdrington nodiflora Mountain cedar, Bergsipres




           Hermanus - Botanical Society - Botaniese Vereniging


This website was last updated on
2017 / 3 / 23