20 June 2011

Oxalis Day

While I was away in the Eastern Cape I received an email from Ismail Ebrahim of CREW.
"On 16 June 2011 (aka Youth Day) we will be instituting a new botanical public holiday. We shall call it Oxalis Day!" he wrote.
"The Oxalidaceae family is a fascinating one. There are approximately 900 species worldwide and Oxalis is the biggest genus. There is an amazing diversity of form and colour in the family and they are often seen as colourful displays in the veld. There are about 109 species listed as Species of Conservation Concern in the Red List of Southern Africa. Of these 109 species there are 8 listed as Critically Endangered possibly extinct. This is a very high number for one genus and it will be the main focus of the Oxalis Day field trips. For these species to be listed as extinct we have to look for them intensively before we can be sure. More importantly we will be going out to re-discover these species and ensure that they do not become extinct.
"The first Oxalis Day outing was to Morreesburg, Piketberg, Porterville, De tuin just north of Saron, Tulbagh and Malmesbury."
I look forward to hearing about the trip and in the meantime did my own Oxalis Day hunting in the Waters Meeting Nature Reserve near Port Alfred and Bathhurst. Unfortunately I was not very successful in identifying them, but this one might be Oxalis caprina
and this one was very similar but has white spattering on the leaves and the flower was much pinker. Maybe Oxalis semiloba?

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