Kenilworth Racecourse conservation staff discovered various new flora species in the Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area (KRCA) since the end of last year. An ecological burn conducted in 2015 in 100 year old veld unearthed several threatened flora jewels, approximately one to two years after the ecological burns were conducted on the site.
In May 2017, KRCA management rediscovered Macrostylis villosa subsp. Villosa, an Endangered species, whose distribution is found only from the Cape Peninsula to Mamre. Herbarium records of Elsie Elizabeth Esterhuysen, “the most outstanding collector ever of South African flora” who amassed 36,000 herbarium specimens, suggest that this species may have last been recorded at Kenilworth Racecourse in 1965 amongst low bush. This rediscovery is then legendary as Elsie would have been 53 when she found it at Kenilworth and now exactly 52 years later the species again shows its floral majesty.
Other threatened species uncovered by the burn are Lebeckia meyeriana (Endangered), Aspalathus araneosa (Vulnerable), Moraea elsiae (Vulnerable), Lampranthus leptaleon (Endangered) as well as those listed as “Plant Species of Concern”, Aspalathus abietina, Centella tridentate, Wahlenbergia procumbens, and Isoetes capensis.
Kenilworth Racecourse conservation management is delighted to have found these species and the discovery hereto strengthens the importance of actively conserving one of the most valuable pieces of Cape Flats Sand Fynbos remaining in the area.
Sabelo Memani, Site Manager