Linnaeus ’ description in his Flora Zeylandica,1747, of the discoveries of Paul Hermann, the first professional botanist to visit the Cape, which he did while en route to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1672
The Cape Floral Kingdom Marloth, in his classic contribution to the scientific reports published in 1908 of the German ‘Valdivia’ expedition, was the first botanist to define and describe the concept of a Cape Floral Kingdom.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Map Images Photo Gallery
South Africa has many icons – outstanding natural features such as Table Mountain and the Drakensberg, tourist destinations such as the Kruger National Park and Kirstenbosch, sports teams (the Springboks and Bafana Bafana), and heroes of the calibre of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. All of these provide positive brand names and images of the country. In terms of our biodiversity, there is no more potent icon than that of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
Today, some scientists prefer the designation ‘Cape Floristic Region’ but we will use, in this chapter at least, the more romantic ‘Cape Floral Kingdom’. Perhaps because the term was first published as Reich der Kapflora in 1908 in an obscure, inaccessible German report – the Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der deutschen Tiefsee-Expedition auf dem Dampfer Valdivia 18981899, in the university town of Jena, its origin has been overlooked by most South African scientists. The report’s author, Rudolf Marloth, has been described by many as the ‘father of modern botany in South Africa’.
Floral kingdoms of the world Six floral kingdoms of the world are recognised by botanists: 1 Boreal; 2 Palaeotropic; 3 Neotropic; 4 Australasian; 5 Antarctic; 6 Cape. The Cape Floral Kingdom is a tiny speck at the southern tip of Africa, and the world’s tiniest plant kingdom.
The Palmiet River drains the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve in the heartland of the Cape Floral Kingdom, where 1 882 species offlowering plant andfern are found within less than 900 square kilometres.
A floral kingdom is defined by the species, genera and families that occur within its boundaries, and nowhere else – i.e. it is defined by the composition of its endemic flora, not by the growth forms and structure of its vegetation.
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