Boland Granite Fynbos

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(Previously described as Mesic Mountain Fynbos)

Distribution: Western Cape Province: Upper slopes and summits of Paardeberg and Paarl Mountain as well as the lower slopes of mountains spanning the Groenberg and Hawequasberge (western foothills near Wellington), Pniel (Simonsberg and Groot Drakenstein Mountains and Klapmutskop), Franschhoek (Middelberg, Dassenberg, Skerpheuwel, Middagkransberg), Stellenbosch (Jonkershoek Valley and northern side of the Helderberg) and Helderberg Municipality (including lower south- and west-facing slopes of Haelkop and the Hottentots Holland Mountains and also the free-standing Skapenberg). It also occurs in the Du Toitskloof and Wemmershoek Valleys, Kaaimansgat and lower Stettynskloof, with outcrops on the Bottelary Hills and Kanonkop (near Pella). Altitude 150–650 m, reaching 850 m in places. 14.3% of this vegetation type occurs within the City and 85.7% outside the City, with similar transformation rates inside and outside the City.

Vegetation & Landscape Features: Moderately undulating plains and hills, varying from extensive deep soils, to localised deep soils between large granite domes and sheets. A fairly dense, 1–2 m tall closed shrubland with occasional low, gnarled trees dotted through the landscape. A diverse type, dominated by scrub, asteraceous and proteoid fynbos (with Protea repens, P. burchelli, P. laurifolia with Leucadendron rubrum and L. daphnoides as dominants on drier slopes, Leucospermum grandiflorum or L. guenzii dominant in seepage areas, and P. neriifolia and Leucadendron sessile on moist slopes), but with patches of restioid and ericaceous fynbos in wetter areas. Waboomveld is very typical and very extensive within this unit.

Geology & Soils: Cape Granite Suite rocks (Paardeberg, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Wellington Plutons). Soils usually of Glenrosa, Mispah forms, or red-yellow apedal. Freely draining soils are dominant, with exposed dome rock and large boulders.

Climate: MAP 610–2 220 mm (mean: 985 mm), peaking from May to August. Mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures 26.6°C and 5.9°C for February and July, respectively. Frost incidence 2 or 3 days per year. The mean rainfall for this type is well below the 1 400 mm limit suggested by Campbell (1985) for fynbos on granite. Mists are common in winter.

Endemic Taxa: Tall Shrub: Leucospermum grandiflorum. Low Shrubs: Aspalathus cephalotes subsp. cephalotes, A. stricticlada, Erica fausta, E. hippurus, E. lerouxiae, E. setosa, Leucospermum lineare, Lobostemon hottentoticus, Psoralea gueinzii, Pteronia centauroides, Serruria gracilis, Xiphotheca elliptica. Succulent Shrubs: Erepsia lacera, Lampranthus leptaleon, L. rupestris, Oscularia paardebergensis. Herb: Argyrolobium angustissimum. Geophytic Herbs: Babiana noctiflora, Ixia cochlearis, Lapeirousia azurea, Watsonia amabilis. Succulent Herb: Conophytum turrigerum.

Conservation: Vulnerable. Target 30%. Some 14% statutorily conserved in the Hawequas, Hottentots Holland and Paarl Mountain Nature Reserves, with a further 34% found in Hawequas, Hottentots Holland mountain catchment areas and Helderberg and Paardenberg Nature Reserves. More than a half of the area has been transformed for vineyards, olive groves and pine plantations. Most common woody aliens include Pinus pinaster, Hakea sericea and Acacia saligna.

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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