Hidden gems of the Fynbos

Erica riparia 2One of the most remarkable characteristics of fynbos is its very high number of rare and localised species. You are never quite sure where they are going to turn up, but fynbos-clad hills and valleys are full of special flowering surprises and rare botanical gems. An example was when we first cut the Fynbos trail in 2011 down to the beautiful waterfall in the Witvoetskloof forest on day 2 of the Fynbos trail. Just before reaching the forest the trail crosses a stream and there in all its beauty, was the delightfully delicate Erica riparia. This species blooms in the winter and spring and had previously only been recorded from three locations between Bettys Bay and the Soetanysberg. But there it was, a small healthy patch spreading through the undergrowth, full of soft, hairy pink flowers – persisting many kilometres from the other known populations of this species. For us another fynbos gem to add to our treasure chest, to appreciate, admire and conserve.

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