One of the signature species we have been involved in restoring at Princess Vlei is Serruria foeniculacea, the Rondevlei Spiderhead.
Princess Vlei is a sister conservation area to the well-known Rondevlei Nature Reserve.
Botanial records show that historically Princess Vlei would have had a very similar plant
community to Rondevlei.
The story of Serruria foeniculacea is the story of successful species conservation on the Cape Flats. This narrowly endemic member of the Protea family was only ever found around the Grassy Park area and was last seen at Princess Vlei in 1910.
It was thought to be extinct, but in the 1970’s two plants were found on an open space near Rondevlei Nature Reserve. They were translocated into the conservation area by then manager Howard Langley. Back-up plants were created via cutting with Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and these were used to bulk this population.
Through the perseverance of generations of conservationists such as Langley and Dalton Gibbs, a population of about 350 plants is well established at Rondevlei. Building on this work, the Princess Vlei Forum is working to reintroduce this species to Princess Vlei.
In 2020 one hundred and ten plants were planted in a test planting at Princess Vlei. By April 2021 ninety seven plants had survived their first summer. A further hundred plants were restored to different test plantings around the main water body in winter 2021.
Going forward, this priority species will be restored to multiple subpopulations around the Greater Princess Vlei Conservation Area, with the restoration goal of over 1000 individuals successfully restored. This would make Princess Vlei home to the largest global population of this threatened Protea.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.