On Halloween, twenty volunteers of all ages gave up trick or treating to come to Princess Vlei, to gather seeds for a variety of annual daisies. The seeds will be stored over summer and broadcast in autumn 2021 in the new restoration areas.
Princess Vlei is home to several flowering annuals. Thanks to consistent rainfall this winter - and the City delaying their mowing - this spring has seen a spectacular display of flowers at the Vlei.
Most spring flowers are annual plants, which only grow for half a year. They reach the peak in their life cycle in late spring, when they flower and dominate landscapes with blushes of white, orange and yellow. Common annual daisies found in the Greater Princess Vlei Conservation Area are the Rain Daisy (Dimorphotheca pluvialis), Veldt Star (Ursinia anthemoides ), African sunsorrel (Heliophila africana) and Sandveld Ragwort (Senecio arenarius).
As summer approaches these plants die and release vast quantities of seeds. These seeds lie dormant over the harsh summer months and only germinate with the first autumn rains. The seeds are important parcels of genetic material which allow a new generation of plants to grow. The dead plants also serve an important function, insulating shrub seedlings over summer.
The Princess Vlei Forum conservation team, under the guidance of our manager, is hard at
work collecting massive quantities of seeds for these annuals. PVF volunteers and our specialist restoration team harvest seeds in paper bags.
This work has been made possible by the City of Cape Town adjusting their mowing schedule. If the flowers are mowed too early in the season, they have no opportunity to seed. this means in a few years they will die out, and already some species are threatened. The Forum has requested that mowing be suspended between April and November for this reason.
We hope that with this mowing schedule, and the help of our volunteers to gather and broadcast seeds will help us build up the annual populations until Princess Vlei becomes one of the City's top spring flower destinations.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.