Greetings from South Africa! I'm in the middle of a three-week trip to the Cape Region of SA to work with my colleagues from the Finnish Museum of Natural History in Helsinki on fern collections for our shared research projects. We've had a fantastic time exploring the incredible Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
, and have started making forays out into the field. Today's trip was to the Cederburg region north west of Cape Town. Almost the entire fern flora here is completely to knew to all of us, so it has been great fun bringing plant material back to our B&B to go through with the key and figure out what things are. We're also taking samples for DNA analysis and making herbarium vouchers (with permission from all the land owners where we're collecting). If anyone is interested in a great book on the ferns of this region, I highly recommend Ferns of Southern Africa
by Crouch, Klopper, and Burrows - it has become our Bible since we've been here!
The trail we took at Cederburg led from a picnic area upslope towards a waterfall high up a mountainside. The first fern we encountered was Cheilanthes hastata
. Cheilanthes is a genus of fern in Pteridaceae whose members are often found in dry habitats - not surprising that they are at home in the Cape area.
We encountered C. hastata regularly on the walk up to the waterfall, and the other most common species at the lower elevations was this one, Mohria caffrorum:
And here's a shot looking back across the valley when were about halfway up to the waterfall.
When we finally reached our destination, there were ferns galore to greet us. Here are photos of all the species we saw (I think!). Quite a diverse assemblage!
|Hymenophyllum tunbrigense right beside the waterfall|
|More Hymenophyllum tunbrigense|
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