A new Erica species for Fernkloof – Erica genistifolia

Out orchid hunting on the contour path between Voelklip and Vogelgat in late October, a group of Bot Soc members climbed up to a pool just above the path.

Whilst photographing the dainty ferns and other unusual sedge-like plants on the pool edge, Liz Hutton drew our attention to the unusual looking white flowers of an erica plant growing amongst the low vegetation on the adjacent bank.

After taking a GPS reading we picked a piece to take back for identification.

Imagine our surprise when Lee Burman suggested it might be Erica genistifolia, an erica never previously recorded in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.  Photos and a description were sent to Ted Oliver, an expert in the family Ericaceae, who confirmed the identification.

The name of this little plant has now been added to the Fernkloof plant list of 1 250 species!

The erica is described as a low, bushy shrublet up to 30cm tall, growing on moist south facing rock ledges. The corolla is 4 to 5mm long, with lobes that are unusual in that they are broadish at the base, gradually becoming thinner until they end in a peculiar dark brown tip.

Only one plant was seen and a follow-up excursion to the gully is planned.

Ref: Ericas of South Africa; Schumann, Kirsten & Oliver

Article Sandy Jenkin    Images Sandy Jenkin and Ronnie Hazell

About roncorylus

He who wants the kernel must crack the nut
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4 Responses to A new Erica species for Fernkloof – Erica genistifolia

  1. Dalene Worrall says:

    You obviously are a plant boffin Liz!

  2. Anina Lee says:

    Well done to all – this is so exciting.

  3. Geoffrey Andrew says:

    geneis, = the edge of an axe, an axe, pickaxe, mattock;
    genista, = the broom-plant, broom; (also the genus GENISTA);
    folium, = a leaf.
    (referring to the similarity between the leaves of this species and those of the genus Genista, to which the broom species belong)
    According to my lists the plant occurs in Kogelberg; I have amended my list to show that it also occurs in the Fernkloof list.
    What fun it all is.

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