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Rafnia vlokii
Rafnia vlokii
Satyrium pumilum
Arctotis at Camferskloof

Collecting Seed
Cytinis sp nova
Erica fimbriata
Erica uberiflora

Flattening press
Haworthia outeniquensis
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Di Turner

CREW Custodians of Rare & Endangered Wildflowers

Cell:+27 (0) 448770055
Tel: +27 (0) 448770055

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Doomsday or the Apocalypse could end the world as we know it. Numerous false prophets have predicted this event throughout history and generally they’ve walked away with cash in their pockets, despite being proved wrong.

But with Dear Leader, Trump, Isis and a number of irresponsible people in power, it’s more than too close for comfort. Add to that scenario, overpopulation, global warming, humanity’s trashing of the environment and the oceans and it becomes a believable hazard. It is no coincidence that most of the older teen and young adult fiction has an apocalyptic theme. The good news is that some really rational people are taking these threats seriously and are doing something to safeguard plant-life for posterity. The Millenium Seed Bank at Kew is one of them.
The Millennium Seed Bank is an international conservation project coordinated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. After being awarded a Millennium Commission grant in 1995, the project commenced in 1996, and is now housed in the Wellcome Trust Millennium Building situated in the grounds of Wakehurst Place, West Sussex. Its purpose is to provide an "insurance policy" against the extinction of plants in the wild by storing seeds for future use. The storage facilities consist of large underground frozen vaults preserving the world's largest wild-plant seedbank or collection of seeds from wild species. (Hopefully they will survive a nuclear bomb - dt) Their aims are to
*Collect the seeds from 75,000 species of plants by 2020, representing 25% of known flora. This is the second phase of this goal. The original partnership goal of banking 10% of known flora by 2010 was achieved in October 2009.[8]
*Collect seeds from all of the UK's native flora.
*Further research into conservation and preservation of seeds and plants.
*Act as a focal point for research in this area and encourage public interest and support.
South Africa with its plant diversity, is an active participant in the project. But limited funding has kept the local effort very short-handed. At the last CREW Workshop in June 2016 at Drie Kuilen near Montagu, Dr Tilla Raimondo Claudio (Head of the Threatened Plants Programme) made an impassioned plea to the CREW volunteers to help if they could. The idea appealed to the Outramps and we decided to investigate it further. To this end, we asked Victoria Wilman to give us a course on seed-collecting and show us what was involved. Victoria runs the project in the greater Cape Province The Southern Cape Herbarium kindly allowed us to use their premises and everything was beautifully set up for us when we arrived on Tuesday morning. The course was extremely well-presented by Victoria with the help of Gurli from the Friends of Tygerberg CREW Group in Cape Town. The content was interesting and motivating and before long, I could see that the Outramps were fast becoming hooked on the idea of seed-collecting for the MSB.
Early on Wednesday, with some theory under the belt, we went off the Camferskloof to put it all into practice. Armed with brown paper bags, plastic bags and some cloth bags, we went into action. Our first plant target was Metalasia pulcherrima forma pallescens (Not Evaluated). We collected 3 specimens, one for Kew, one for Compton and one for our own Southern Cape Herbarium. Fortunately these plants that grow on the drier slopes of the Outeniquas, are as plentiful as sand on Wilderness Beach. Other seed collected came from Erica uberiflora, Erica fimbriata, Erica vlokii (Endangered)and Rafnia vlokii (Vulnerable) We discussed ways and means of slicking up our collecting techniques to make them more efficient. Sally Adam of the Outramps has agreed to drive the project and fine-tune the process. All our seed collections will be tagged, so that we can track them on an iSpot project, “Outramps CREW Millenium Seed Collections There is loads of enthusiasm for this new project and I have no doubt that we will tackle it vigorously. This is in line with the rest of our volunteer work, monitoring the rare and endangered plants and feeding the data through to SANBI to keep the Red List updated. We have completed 1300 site sheets on iSpot since May 2014 At the same time we are busy cataloguing the entire Southern Cape Flora on iSpot. We have just become a whole lot busier with this new string to our bow. The temperature in Camferskloof for most of the day, was well into the 30’s and by the time we left, there was a general air of wilting around. Thick mist rolling over the Outeniquas and the resultant drop in temperature on our return to George was very welcome. It was the preface to 3 days of soaking rain
Some exciting news comes from Nicky, who posted a Cytinus (Vampire’s Cup) on iSpot a week or so ago. She found it at Dune Molerat. Prix thought it was a Cytinus sp nova and Nina Hobbhahn is in agreement. So Nicky sent off some samples and this is Nina’s reply. “Dear Prix and Nicky, Thank you so much to the two of you to publicizing the Cytinus finding (totally novel!), for alerting me to it, and for coordinating the splendid collection! The material is very exciting - firstly because of the apparent parasitism on non-Asteraceous hosts, and secondly because the scent reminds me very strongly of the population in Groot Winterhoek. I found several Cytinus populations in the Western Cape, but none ever smelt like the GWH population, and statistical analysis shows that it is a very unique scent profile. So - very exciting! Thanks to your info on population size, potential hosts, and samples I can now justify a field trip, so I'm coming over next Wednesday till Saturday. I'll only arrive Wed evening because I have commitments in Cape Town until mid-day, but two days should be enough to study this population and maybe even to pop over to Nature's Valley and look for that population, too. If you are available I would love to meet you, then I can also provide some background on my research and explain just how exciting this finding is. Hopefully see you soon!”
Best regards,
Nina Hobbhahn, PhD
NRF Innovation post-doctoral fellow
Lab of Prof. S. D. Johnson
School of Life Sciences
University of KwaZulu-Natal The iSpot posting with all the discussion on this find.
Our plans for checking the plants on Rooiberg Pass and along the Rooiberg jeep track going west this past weekend, were thwarted by dire forecasts of heavy rain for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And for once it really materialised. It is not possible to do site sheets and take photos in torrential rain. Another consideration was the state of the roads, which are not built for deluges. We have shifted the trip to this coming Friday and Saturday. Hopefully the rain will have added lustre to the Rooiberg Show and the threat of fire in the Southern Cape will have receded into the distance. We can all sleep a little easier because of it. And the rain came pouring down……………………
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie
Di Turner
Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

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