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Betty’s bay Bioblitz

So I hear about Bioblitz and I am very excited- because now some experts are going to tell me the names of all the species I don’t know. That is going to be great! I set off at great speed and start taking pictures with my ‘really-not-so-great ‘ cell phone with only one evening of explanation of how to do it.

Around my house, which is in Pipe road in Betty’s bay, there are hundreds of species. Well, I think so, because I don’t really know that much, yet.

I start off with my own garden, which is mainly indigenous and mostly stuff that we fought for during the building process. Some we transplanted to a safe corner and others were left because we insisted on keeping the plot intact as much as possible.

At some point during day 1 of the Blitz, I remember about this amazing Leucadendron I know that grows next to the path going up to the waterfall close to the Marie Vogts rondavel. It started to rain on day 1 and I had to sneak out when it was dry to try and take photos. All of them not further than 300m from my house. When a break in the clouds give me a chance, I arrive at ‘my Leaucadendron’ and I am disappointed. The lovely shrub has died. It was almost a tree but died nevertheless. So on my way down to the house, I take more pictures. When I look at the downloaded pictures, I see to my delight that another baby of ‘my Leucadendron’ is growing just behind the dead one. Day 2 keeps me so busy that I forget about ‘my Leucadendron’ . The next day I am off again. Fortunately, my daughter is also a ‘Blitzer’ and we walk together. When we get to the spot we find three young shrubs, with one already at a fruiting stage. The pictures are lovely and we are happy. On the way, we also saw some lovely Lachenalias that I haven’t noticed before.

Back home with the downloads, I realize the cone is probably already formed but hiding behind the lovely leaves, and my location seems to be inaccurate, a process I had difficulty with. So later that day we are back again.

I finally got a good picture of ‘my Leucadendron’.

Leucadendron nervosum, Silkyruff Conebush observed by Adele Scheepers


I post it and wait… and wait. The first response I get is. ……

ID: Leucadendron nervosum

“Please confirm planted. Please double check your locality”.

Now, I did not plant it and in the number of years I have been walking around this part of the mountain, which is close to 20 years, I did not think someone would have planted it……. or maybe?

Leucadendron nervosum, Silkyruff Conebush observed by Adele Scheepers


I remember the discussion we had one day when our local Kogelberg Botanical Society walked Rod’s trail, which is close by, and how Tim Atwell explained that species from other areas were planted around the rondavel and that the cross-pollination that occurred, was upsetting to some botanists. Then I understood the bit of attitude I picked up from this comment. This could be one of those transplanted species. I also have a vague recollection of white metal tags attached to pegs that were placed next to plants. That was almost 20 years ago.

The following comment: “ It should not be here. “ confirmed the verdict.

Then it was followed by:

“Very worrying. Needs monitoring! and perhaps removal?”

I do not want to get into this philosophical, or maybe scientific, debate but all of this made me realise how important each one of us is in participating in the Bioblitz. I did not have enough knowledge to know that this plant was out of place. I did not even drive around looking for interesting observations. As a newcomer to bioblitz and an amateur, I merely took photographs, mostly not very well, in my immediate area, in a radius of about 300m from my home. It gave me so much joy and I learned so much. I definitely know that my photos have to show more detail than what a lot of them did and it inspired me to get to know more plant species.

I am also motivated even more to focus on this area around my house where species from other areas were introduced. I suspect the specialists will be able to distinguish which cross-species are now growing around here. I am looking forward to participating in the next Bioblitz and hope to do my bit for conservation research in the process.

This blog was submitted by Adele Scheepers as an entry in the "A picture is worth a thousand words' challenge

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