22 March 2006

Fynbos

Fynbos is the main vegetation type of the Cape Floristic Kingdom. There are various subdivisions distinguished mostly by elevation and rainfall pattern (some fynbos occurs in summer rainfall areas, but most of it is mediterrannean climate). As you might guess from the name ("fine wood" in Afrikaans), vegetation is dominated by shrubby plants (proteaceae, ericaceae and restionaceae), nutrient poor (mostly) sand soils, and a ~15 year burn cycle.

Fynbos is analogous to Mediterrannean maquis, California chaparral, and similar vegetation types in Chile and Australia but with dramatically greater biodiversity: 8600 plant species, 5800 of them endemic, in ~90,000 km2 [vs. 3500/2100 in the entire 294,000 km2 California Floristic Province].

I've been looking into fynbos as a source of plants adapted to my climate (if not my soil), including the beautiful proteas, and 1,400 bulbs.

For more info and plant porn, see Cowling and Richardson, Fynbos: South Africa's Unique Floral Kingdom (Vlaeberg: Fernwood Press, 1995)

2 Comments:

Anonymous kk said...

oh, that fynbos.

there's an iris under geophytes in the bulb link that is almost obscenely simple, that you may want to look into.

3/22/2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger mmw said...

you asked.

For irises we roll west coast style.

3/22/2006 7:13 PM  

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