CREW West Coast

South Africa is one of the richest countries in the world when it comes to floral biodiversity. It’s also the only country in the world to have contained in itself an entire plant kingdom (of which 80 % is confined to a single province) as well as three global Biodiversity Hotspots. In South Africa, more than 20 000 plant species have been recorded, 13% of which are threatened with extinction and a further 11% is classified as being of conservation concern due to their recent decline in numbers, species occurring as naturally rare endemics or there being insufficient data on the species to be allocated a threat level.

Currently the Cape West Coast region is supported by several CREW members from Jacobs bay, Saldanha bay, Langebaan and Darling working in close proximity with the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve and SANBI.

Our annual West Coast CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) planning meeting took place on Thursday 09 May 2013 in Jacobs bay. The meeting was hosted by Koos Claassen, the group leader for the CREW members in Jacobs bay. The dynamic CREW members attending were from Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve Saldanha, volunteers from Darling, Langebaan, Jacobs bay and South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) members from Cape Town.

The spokesperson, Ismail Ebrahim, from SANBI compiled a list of threatened species occurring in the area and mentioned that the conservation status of some of those species was being revised during the course of the year. This meant that the field trips had to be scheduled to prioritize recording those species up for revision and included,

  • Polhillia sp. (FABACEAE) - growing on granite rocks near Vredenburg

  • Ezoloba macrocarpa (FABACEAE) - Endangered

  • Erepsia brevipetala (AIZOACEAE) – Endangered

  • Argyrolobium velutinum (FABACEAE) - Endangered

  • Diosma aspalathoides (RUTACEAE) – Near Threatened

  • Agathosma thymifolia (RUTACEAE) - Vulnerable

  • Aspalathus stricticlada (FABACEAE) - Endangered

  • Lampranthus vernalis (AIZOACEAE) – Near Threatened

  • Manulea augei (SCROPHULARIACEAE) – Endangered

CREW outings were discussed for the remainder of the year in the different areas in the region including the West Coast National Park and Conservation Stewardship sites of the Biosphere. After the meeting was concluded, the CREW members had a refreshing walk in the veld observing beautiful Fynbos where abundantly Chrysanthemoides incana also known as the Grys Bietou was in flower.

The experience of nature at its best was overwhelming, wonderful, insightful and rewarding.