Monday, 8 May 2017

Karoo Biogaps experience

By Thaakira Samodien

Our first pentad was Rietfontein farm, South of Colesberg. The weather was extremely humid and the sun was at its peak while we were out in the field. The first plant species that stood out for me as we drove to our site was the Brunsvigia radulosa. Its shape, size and beautiful colour caught my eye immediately and I was in utter awe that such beauty exists in the Karoo. As we got to the site, we got all our equipment ready and started our day. I was amazed at how many different species there were that were flowering. Aspalathus, Selago, Hermannia, Jamesbrittenia, Gnidia, and lots of different grasses were some of the species that we collected on the first day. In total we found about over 130 species on the first day. 

The second day was the best Karoo experience I had. This site was on Doornberg farm in Nieu Bethesda. It was a beautiful hot day and we found lots of special flowers. Although it was hot, it rained while we were in the field which made the day even more special. The site was a beautiful site; flat dry land with hill tops filled with lots of grasses. We reached a river area as well where we found different types of Cyperus and dragonflies. My favourite flower that we found on that site was a tiny little Hermannia species. We called it Hermannia candy-like, because its colour was a combination of white, yellow and a reddish-pink.

The next few days it rained quite a bit which made some of the sites very difficult to gain access to, but we still managed to collect some species on the wetter sites. 

We found some succulents and more grasses. We saw lots of different Aloes; Aloe ferox, Aloe broomii and Aloe striata. The flora field trip experience overall was amazing and fulfilling. Being a part of the BioGaps project has taught me a lot and it gives me motivation to do more to protect the flora of Southern Africa. 

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