Peninsula Shale Renosterveld

Distribution: Endemic to City of Cape Town: Signal Hill and on the lower northern slopes of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak; approximately centred on the city bowl of Cape Town. Altitude 0–350 m. 100% of this vegetation type occurs within the City and it is 89% transformed.

Vegetation & Landscape Features: Gentle to steep lower slopes with tall, open shrubland and grassland, typically with renosterbos not appearing very prominent. This vegetation is very grassy due to frequent fires and lack of grazing. On Devil’s Peak these ‘renosterveld grasslands’ are frequently mowed for grazing. On south-facing slopes and upper slopes this unit merges into fynbos. The early successional stages are dominated by Asparagus capensis, Hyparrhenia hirta, Haemanthus sanguineus, various Oxalis species and resprouting Rhus lucida, after which tussock grasses, shrubs and ferns emerge. After only 12 months the reseeding species start to become more obvious.

Geology & Soils: Clay soils derived from shale of the Tygerberg Formation, Malmesbury Group; Glenrosa, Mispah and Lamotte forms prominent.

Climate: MAP 480–870 mm (mean: 720 mm), peaking markedly from May to August. This is the wettest renosterveld type by far. Mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures 26.7°C and 7.8°C for February and July, respectively. Frost incidence 2 or 3 days per year.

Endemic Taxa: None.

Conservation: Critically endangered vegetation unit. Target of 26% is unattainable since 89% of the area has been totally transformed (urban sprawl, cultivation and building of road infrastructure). It is statutorily conserved in the Table Mountain National Park (10%). A fair proportion of the conserved area on Devil’s Peak is covered by pine and gum parkland. These should be restored to renosterveld as soon as possible. Notable aliens include various species of Acacia (especially A. melanoxylon).

Information on Cape Town's vegetation comes from Summarised Descriptions of National Vegetation Types Occurring in the City of Cape Town by Patricia Holmes, Biodiversity Management Branch, July 2008

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