Did you know that exposure to plants can boost your health? And in times of lockdown – they can especially support your mental and emotional health.
Research shows that time spent in a natural setting (yes, even a small garden), can help reduce stress, make you more productive and creative, help you remember better, and reduce signs of depression.
Right now, many of us simply don’t have access to nature (let along a shop-bought fynbos bouquet) – as we remain safely home to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
So, if you can’t enjoy some of the fynbos beauty outdoors, we’ll bring some of the fynbos beauty into your home (albeit a virtual presence).
More specifically, we’re sharing some of those lesser-known fynbos plants you’re likely to see in your sustainably-harvested fynbos bouquet (these species are harvested from natural fynbos landscapes, as opposed to flower orchards).
‘Glasogies’ (literally translated as ‘Glass eyes’)
Staavia radiata is often found in fynbos bouquets. It’s usually used as a filler – in other words, it’s used around the pretty focal flowers (such as the Proteas). But that doesn’t make these magical white flowers any less spectacular.
Staavia radiata is known to resprout vigorously after fire. It flowers between September and December, and occurs across large parts of the Cape Floral Kingdom (as such, it’s listed as a species of Least Concern).
‘Blombos’ (literally translated as ‘Flower bush’)
We can show you pictures of the pretty Metalasia muricata. But unfortunately technology doesn’t yet allow us to share their very prominent smell with you – they have a distinctive honey scent. They also have hardy leaves – and flowers range from white, to brown, and event to pink and purple.
This species is listed as Least Concern and is harvested from natural fynbos landscapes. It’s widespread and abundant across much of the Cape Floral Kingdom, especially the coastal areas and flowers between May and September. (It’s also got great garden potential).
The Phaenocoma prolifera is known as the ‘strooiblommetjie’ (translated as ‘straw flower’). If you’ve touched it, then you’ll know why – it feels a bit like straw or paper. The flowers are pink when they’re young, but as they grow older, they fade to white.
They flower between September and March – and are listed as Least Concern because they are fairly widespread (from the Cape Peninsula all the way down to Bredasdorp). But they do face some threats: If they’re picked when they are too young, they can be killed.
Leucadendron coniferum is also often found in fynbos bouquets as a filler. The cones start off as pink/red, but as they get older, then become green. They flower between August and September.
This species is listed as Vulnerable. And what’s more, it has a Vulnerability Score of 5 (this means that it must be monitored closely to ensure it’s not over-harvested). It’s also threatened by invasive plants, loss of habitat and degradation.
The Leucadendron linifolium is also listed as Vulnerable – that’s because you’ll often find them growing in wetlands (and many wetlands have been lost over the decades). They also have a slightly higher Vulnerability Index score (4), which means they must be monitored.
They flow between September and October. These plants are pollinated by insects – and the seeds are kept safely in the female cones, only to be released following a fire.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust
Natural Resource Management: Sustainable Harvesting Programme
When fynbos is picked sustainably, you not only protect the fynbos kingdom for future generations, you also protect the livelihoods of those who harvest it.
Birds, mice, ants and fire all play a role in the amazing lifecycle of these beautiful pincushions.
Flower Valley provides home-based outreach services in Eluxolweni and Baardskeerdersbos. Children unable to attend Early Childhood Development centers are visited weekly by a fieldworker to engage in music, movement, story-telling and art.
For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.
The Pincushion Hill hiking trail is beautiful every day of the year. The trail is especially striking during the months of October and November, when the Leucospermum cordifolium and Leucospermum