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West Coast National Park

Vegetation

Though the thousands of migrating birds is one the main reasons for the conservation of the West Coast National Park, the showy plants of the area, usually growing on granite or limestone rocks, especially during spring time, are what attracts most of its visitors to this fascinating park.

WCNP contains mostly strandveld vegetation (24,025 ha), which was previously classified as West Coast Strandveld and Langebaan Fynbos /Thicket Mosaic. In recent years the park has expanded incorporating substantial areas (6,382 ha) of an additional vegetation type /broad habitat unit i.e. Hopefield Sand Plain Fynbos, previously called Coastal Fynbos. Both these habitat units were given a 50 % irreplaceability rating, however, sand plain fynbos is regarded to be of higher conservation value than strandveld, due to very little being formally conserved and it being more threatened by alien plant invasion.

The strandveld vegetation of WCNP occurs on the Langebaan peninsula and east of the Langebaan lagoon on deep calcareous sands of the Langebaan formation. Sand plain fynbos occurs inland of the strandveld on deep acidic light-grey to pale-red sands of the Springfontyn formation. Extensive marshes, dominated by Sarcocornia, Salicornia, Spartina, Limonium, Phragmites, Typha, Juncus, and Scirpus species, occur on the fringes of the Langebaan lagoon.

The vegetation of the park, excluding the newly acquired properties such as Van Niekerks Hoop, Kalkklipfontein, Langefontein and Elandsfontein, may be divided into 36 associations (or communities), having some 482 plant species (including salt marsh species), of which 21 are Red Data Book species. A further 14 Red Data species have been recorded, or are likely to occur on the newly acquired sections of land.

Flowers that can be seen during the year (not just flower season):

Candelabra flower (Brunsvigia orientalis)

Candelabra

Flowers: February to April (When it flowers, the leaves die and are not visible)
Where to find: Sandy, mainly coastal flats.

Rooinaeltjie (Lachenalia bulbifera)

Flowers: April to September
Where to find: Sandy slopes and flat along coast.

Chinkerinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides)

Chinkerinchee

Flowers: October to December
Where to find: Sandy flats, lower slopes, often in vleis.

Bruinsalie / strandsalie (Salvia Africana-lutea)

Strandsalie

Flowers: June to December
Where to find: Most likely to see while driving on road (road shoulders).

Rooimalva (Pelargonium fulgidum)

Rooimalva

Flowers: June to November
Where to find: Rocky slopes (often coastal granite) - Clusters of flowers.

Leonotis leonurus

Flowers: November to July
Where to find: Roadsides in park.

Flower Season

Flower season in the West Coast National Park is at its peak from August to September annually. During these two months visitors to the park will see a wide variety of flowers on display, from daisies, to bulbs etc. Large areas of flowers can be seen in the Seeberg\Mooimaak and Postberg areas.

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Photography by Carmen Gagiano.

During a visit to the park in flower season, visitors can expect to see the following species on display:

Suurvy (Carpobrotus edulis)

Flowers: August to October
Where to find: Coastal and inland slopes all over park.

Elandsvy (Carpobrotus acinaciformis)

Elandsvy

Flowers: August to December
Where to find: Coastal sands all over park.

Gousblom (Arctotis hirsuta)

Gousblom

Flowers: August to October
Where to find: Easily seen in the Postberg area on old lands and Seeberg\Mooimaak area - on sandy slopes and flats.

Bokbaai vygie (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis)

Bokbaai Vygie

Flowers: August to September
Where to find: Sandy flats in the Postberg area.

White rain daisy (Dimorphotheca pluvialis)

White Rain Daisy

Flowers: August to October
Where to find: On sandy flats, widespread in the Postberg area on old lands and Seeberg\Mooimaak area.

Sporrie (Heliophila coronopifolia)

Sporrie

Flowers: August to October (only blue flower in the WCNP)
Where to find: Most frequently seen in Uitkyk area of Postberg.

Magriet (Ursinia anthemoides)

Magriet

Flowers: August to October
Where to find: Seen in Postberg (old lands) on sandy gravel slopes and flats.

Soetuintjie (Moraea fugax)

Soet Uintjie

Flowers: August to November
Where to find: Deep sand, rocky sandstone, and granitic soils in the Postberg area as well as rocky areas in Uitkyk area.

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