Fynbos in the Cape Floral Kingdom
Fynbos is the natural vegetation occurring along a narrow belt which stretches north and east of Cape Town.
Most famous for its proteas (of which one, the king protea, is South Africa's national flower), this small area is, in fact, home to over 8000 species of plants. An astonishing 5000 of these do not occur anywhere else in the world and many are extremely rare and in danger of extinction. This is the smallest and, for its size, richest of the world's six floral kingdoms. Supporting 8500 species of plants, it is of international ecological and conservation importance.
Why is Fynbos so special?
Characteristic fynbos plants are the
- restios (Cape reeds),
- ericas (heaths) and ericoids and
- geophytes (bulbs).
The biggest families are those of the daisies (over 1000 species), irises (600 species) and lilies (400 species). A real "fynbos special" is the heath family (Ericaceae), with 600 species, while the rest of the world can boast a mere 26! (Scotland, land of heather, has only 4). Many popular garden plants, such as pelargoniums (geraniums) and freesias, have their origin in fynbos. Table Mountain is home to approximately 1470 species of plants - more than the entire British Isles. Many of these are endemic (i.e. appearing nowhere else on Earth).
Where can I find out more about fynbos?
To learn some tricks of the trade when growing fynbos, read about how to give fynbos the treatment it expects to ensure you don't tend it to death. UWC Enviro-facts Guide to Fynbos For a brilliant Introduction To Fynbos, what it is, why it is so special, and other useful links, visit the UWC Enviro-facts Guide to Fynbos website.
Are there any books I can read?
Have a look at the books in our catalog.
Visit the Fijnbosch Farme to see all the animals and plants we have photographed there. Fynbos provides very poor grazing and does not support the game found elsewhere in South Africa. Do not expect to find large antelope and other big mammals here, but enjoy the birds and insects and other small animals and marvel at the richness and beauty of the flowers. You can see photos of some of the creatures on our farm here. It is these creatures that prevented us from becoming a large protea exporter, since we aren't cruel enough to poison them just to end up with flowers so perfect you think they might be plastic ;-).