Zandvlei Trust

The progress of the ZIMP Botany Group

(Extract article from the volume 2006/2 Newsletter)

photograph by Steve Davis

Botany Group collecting in the Road Reserve area at Zandvlei

Coming to live at Zandvlei we were warned about the howling winds and the loud noise of picknickers. Another side of the coin wasn't mentioned chameleons in the garden, a Leopard Toad in your shoes, the birds and the great variety of plants around you.

Then at the Zandvlei Trust AGM in 2002 Timm Hoffman invited volunteers to join him in the plant monitoring side of the Zandvlei Inventory Monitoring Programme (ZIMP). A group met at his house and were instructed in the basics of collecting plants for a Herbarium;

  • Never take a plant without a permit from the City of Cape Town (permits were arranged)
  • How to press a specimen and the equipment needed
  • Keeping your personal record of plants collected in a notebook, and making field notes with essential details.
  • Different areas within the Greater Zandvlei area were then allocated to different people.

Once specimens were pressed the next stage was to check that they had been correctly identified, or find out what they were. Much of this has been done in the Guthrie Room at the Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town which houses a complete collection of all the plants in the Western Cape. The encouragement and assistance of the Curator, Terry Trinder-Smith was invaluable in this. He also did a workshop demonstrating how to mount the specimens ready for storing in a Herbarium.

Now four years later 246 species have been collected, pressed, mounted. Of these 183 are indigenous to the Cape Peninsula. When another 60 or so plants known to have been in Zandvlei are found, that's close to 10% of the total 2500 species found on the Peninsula here on our doorstep in Zandvlei! The other 63 are exotic species mostly of European or South Amercian origin. Thanks to a generous donation from Woolworths two steel cabinets have been purchased where the specimens can be stored at the Zandvlei Nature Reserve, for study use by the many learners and visitors coming to the Reserve.

photograph by Steve Davis

Robin and Pat rescuing bulbs at Zeekoevlei in an area to be developed.

The task is not complete!

There's a search on for the 60 missing species. Areas like the Road Reserve (under threat), Norfolk Park, Bath Rd and the Muizenberg dunes need to searched and monitored. A photographic collection would be very useful. The task may never be completed, for as you start to look at the plants, new worlds open up their variety and composition, their interaction with insects, birds, humans, animals, the soil and climate (as Ryan's arfticle demonstrates).
The world we live in constantly opens up to new horizons. Newcomers, old and young, rookies or those with some experience, are very welcome to join the project. All you need is enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

Contact Els (788 9038), Robin or Patricia (788 5914), Timm (788 8910),. The Botany Group usually meets on the first Saturday of the month about 9am.

Robin Burnett


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