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PINCUSHION PARADISE - Walk in Africa
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16 Aug

PINCUSHION PARADISE

Considering that the Cape Floral Kingdom is home to approximately nine thousand plant species, it is very difficult to choose a favourite. However, if I had to choose, the vaalkreupelhout (Leucospermum conocarpodendron) would definitely be under consideration. The plants are so familiar on The Cape Peninsula and their bountiful yellow flowers are exceptionally beautiful at this time of year. It is also a very interesting plant.
We do not have the space and time here to discuss al

l the interesting features of this plant, but there is a wonderful historical anecdote which is worth relating. In 1803 a Dutch merchant by the name of Teerlink collected some plant seeds at The Cape, planning to take them back to Holland. However the ship on which he was travelling  was captured by the British and all of his documents including his seed collection were seized and taken to England. They eventually made their way to National Archives. In 2006 a visiting researcher found the seeds and although the seeds were more than 200 years old, members of the Millenium Seed Bank successfully germinated some of them. Amongst these seeds were some Vaalkreupelhout. Prior to this it was believed that the seeds of Protea species are only viable in the soil for about 80 years.

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