SEAN PRIVETT : The Fynbos Floral Kingdom

video Erica irregularis on Grootbos Nature Reserve.

Over the last couple of months we have been treated to the most magnificent flowering display of the Gansbaai Erica, Erica irregularis on Grootbos Nature Reserve. This beautiful heather only grows in a very small area between the villages of Stanford and Gansbaai, yet is so common here that it turns the slopes bright pink for a couple of months each year. It is nowhere more abundant than on the lower slopes of Grootbos where we were treated to an exceptional flowering display this year. In February 2006 the entire population of this rare Erica was killed in a massive fire. Yet as with most other fynbos plants Erica irregularis actually requires fire for its seeds to germinate and within a few months thousands of young seedlings germinated. Over the last five years they have slowly grown to maturity and it was only now in the winter of 2011 that they again reached their full flowering potential – and what a display we were treated to!