South Africa 2015 - Cape Fynbos Vegetation

Cape Point toward Cape of Good Hope


The southwestern Cape is home to one of the worlds richest floras. The region has an estimated 7000 species of true fynbos and more than 9000 plant species in total. The Cape Peninsula alone has 2 285 plant species on an area a third the size of greater London. It has three times more plant species per square kilometer than those fabulously lush rainforests. For this reason, it was declared one of the world's 34 biodiversity 'hot spots', and in 2004, was confirmed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fynbos is a hard-leaved, evergreen and fire-prone shrubland characterized by four major plant types: restioids, ericoids, proteoids, and geophytes. Restioids, members of the Gondwanan family Restionaceae, are evergreen rush or reedlike plants that are the uniquely diagnostic plant type of fynbos (Campbell 1985). The ericoids include many small-leafed shrubs, ranging from 0.5 m to 2 m tall, which give fynbos its heathlike appearance. The proteoids are the tallest fynbos shrubs from 2 m to 4 m in height, and comprise showy members of the Proteaceae, another Gondwanan family. Geophytes, or bulblike plants, are usually most conspicuous after fires, have blooms which are especially attractive. Citation from

These photos were mainly taken in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve in August on the tip of the Cape peninsula Note: It is far from certain that the depictured species have been given the correct names.

Cape Point shrub


Cape Point shrub vegetation

Passerina ericoides? Non-flowering shrub


Fynbos shrub

Cape Point shrub vegetation


Beach vegetation, probably Tetragonia decumbens, Boulders Beach, Simon's Town

Krantz Aloe (Aloe arborescens), Cape Point


Cape Aloe (Aloe ferox), Simon's Town

Fynbos shrub, Cape Point


Asteraceae plant, Cape Point

Polygala myrtifolia (fruticosa?), pea family, Cape Peninsula


Could be a Crassula portulacea

Fynbos plant, probably a conebush (Leucadendron sp.), could be a Sickle-leaf Conebush (Leucadendron xanthoconus)


Leucadendron xanthoconus

Leucadendron (salicifolium?) fruiting cones


Fynbos succulent

Could be a Bietou (Osteospermum moniliferum)?






Sunflower speices (Othonna arborescens)


Othonna arborescens

Cullumia squarrosa?


Cullumia squarrosa?

Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis subsp. capensis) feeding on Erica species


Rock Hyrax / Dassie feeding on Cullumia

Arum Lily / Calla Lily (Zantedeschia-aethiopica), Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve


Arum Lily

Manulea cheiranthus


Bush Felicia (Felicia fruticosa)?

Fynbos tree-like brush


Thamnochortus sp.?

Not sure, but could be Cape sumach (Osyris compressa)


Carpobrotus edulis?

Zaluzianskya villosa


Chaenostoma hispidum

Probably Coast Coral Tree (Erythrina caffra), Simon's Town


Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis), Simon's Town

Salvia sp., Boulders Beach, Simon's Town


Boulders Beach, Simon's Town

Anaxeton laeve


Anaxeton laeve

Cape Mistletoe (Viscum capense)


Fynbos vegetation

Fynbos vegetation



Fynbos plant

Cullumia squarrosa?


Cullumia setosa?

Cape Point lichen


Fynbos lichen, maybe Golden-hair Lichen (Teloschistes flavicans)

Pigs ears (Cotyledon orbiculata)


Hottentot's Cherry (Maurocenia frangula)

Medusa's Head (Euphorbia caput-medusae)


Medusa's Head (Euphorbia caput-medusae)

Fynbos plant, probably a Candelabra Flower (Brunsvigia orientalis). Brunsvigia is a South African genus of Amaryllidaceae which grow in semi-arid regions. There are about 20 species which produce amazing floral displays in autumn. The large scarlet flowers are adapted to sunbird pollination. The leaves shown in the photo appear after the flowers die.


Fynbos plant, probably Crassula fascicularis