The rewards of ‘fire monitoring’

Since the fire on 11th January a group of fire monitors has been observing the regrowth on the burnt slopes. Often blackened with ash they hang over path edges or clamber up rocks in order to photograph and record their findings.

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From fire lilies in January, to fields of yellow moraeas in March, to the bright red fire ericas in April, it is an exciting and rewarding pursuit!

Of particular interest has been the flowering and seeding of the very small Aspidoglossum heterophyllum, a member of the milkweed family. The plants grow up to 12cm tall and have a milky latex. The flowers are white and for their small size produce very large long inflated seedpods – the fluffy seeds will be collected and sent to Kew Gardens for inclusion in their Millenium Seed Bank.

The slender wiry plants of Eriospermum dielsianum, common name Cottonseed, (the seeds look like small balls of cotton wool), have been spotted on the lower slopes, a bulbous plant with a raceme of star-like flowers with red linings under the petals. Their seeds have also been collected for Kew.

Always of interest are new leaves which make their appearance in a numerous array of shapes and sizes. Much discussion ensues as to what they will become!

 For more updates on the burn keep following the ‘burn page’ on the website www.fernkloof.org.za and click on Read More on the home page.

Sandy Jenkin

About roncorylus

He who wants the kernel must crack the nut
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