Katse Botanical Garden (continued)
The Asteraceae is both the largest family of flowering plants and comprises the largest collection in the Katse Botanical Garden. The dominant flower colour in the collection is yellow, and we plan to collect more specimens of other colours. Helichrysum is the most well represented genus in the collection; some species are aromatic and have potential in the pharmaceutical industry.
River Valley Collection and .
The Senqu (Orange) River Valley collection consists mainly of succulents. The Senqu River Valley is the hot and dry region of the country and has soils that are very susceptible to the erosion. The theme garden is made up of Aloe ferox,
The Senqu River Valley collection is vulnerable to the frost conditions prevalent at the Katse Botanic Gardens and needs specialised care—only the aloes have not shown any sign of stress. The collection needs to be housed in a facility that will protect the plants. At the moment, most of the succulents are kept under shade; a more suitable facility is planned.
Plant Rescue Collection , , , ,
The Mohale special collection is the result of a plant rescue in the Mohale catchment (Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase 1B), before impoundment of the Mohale reservoir. The rescue mission focused on the rare and endangered plant species using the IUCN Red Data Categories (1994), with the aim of protecting, conserving, and managing the botanical diversity of the Phase 1B area. At least 300 specimens were collected, including Aloe polyphylla
.Of these, Aloe polyphylla is classified as endangered, and the rest as rare.
Plant Collection , , , , , , ,
The medicinal theme garden was established in response to the local communities’ plea that many key plants used for traditional medicine would be inundated and would no longer be available. More than 200 plant species of medicinal value have been collected. Collection and identification is done in collaboration with local traditional healers. Plants in this collection cut across all families collected. The most commonly used plants available in the garden are Alepidea amatymbica,
Collection , ,
The genus Hypoxis is locally vulnerable because of its medicinal value for a variety of ailments. Because it is over-harvested in most of Lesotho, we are collecting specimens for ex situ conservation. So far, we have five species in the collection, including Hypoxis acuminata, H. argentea, H. hemerocallidea
,and H. rigidula
H. hemerocallidea and H. iridifolia are used locally as a purgative. H. rigidula grows in marsh margins and its leaves are used locally for making long-lasting rope.
The rarity of taxa in the Rare Plant Collection is based on local distribution data established during our collection trips; none of the taxa have been found in more than three locations in the country. Until their distribution ranges have been confirmed, their status will remain locally rare. This collection is part of the Katse Botanical Garden’s rare and endangered plant conservation programme. The plants in the collection are the following (numbers in brackets indicate the number of localities so far found):
pratensis (2) Cyrtanthus
atenuatus (1) Eucomis
bicolor (1) Guthriea
capensis (1) Harveya
pumila (1) Ophioglossum
engelmannii (3) Scabiosa
tysonii (1) Schizostylis
coccinea (1) Senecio
barbatus (1) Senecio
radicans (1) Thamnocalamus
—by Bongani Ntloko
SABONET News 6.2: 100