Photo 16052439, no rights reserved

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Attribution By Tony Rebelo
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Uploaded by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo
Source iNaturalist
Original https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/16052439
Associated observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Pyramid Heath Erica pyramidalis var. pyramidalis

Observer

tonyrebelo

Date

January 1, 1907

Place

Wynberg (Google, OSM)

Description

Pyramid Heath: RIP1907


Pyramid Heath used to occur on western the Cape Flats, in wetlands on Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. As the city expanded its habitat was drained and filled in and built over. The date of extinction is unknown, but is nominally given as 1907. The full extent of its occurrence and its habitat preferences are unknown.

It does not appear to have survived in cultivation, and it now globally extinct.

Very little is known about this species. From Ericas of the Cape Peninsula (37):

Diagnostic for ID: four, cone-shaped flowers at ends of numerous side branches; the corolla is finely hairy under a lens.

Shrubs were erect, 0.5-1m tall, with fine 4-nate leaves.
Corolla was 7-10mm long, rose-coloured, with the stigma just protruding and the anthers hidden.
Flowering was April to May.

The booklet says it is a Peninsula endemic, but Flora of the Cape Peninsula said it was outside of the Peninsula on the western Cape Flats. It was recorded from Black River to Muizenberg, which is effectively the entire length of the southern suburbs - very similar to Erica verticillata in extent.

From the old collections this species had extremely floriferous plants (which makes it weird that it has not survived in cultivation!).
It was exterminated by housing, farming, exotics such as wattles and Kikuyu grass, and perhaps collecting (it was sold at the Adderley Street Flower Market for many years).

The last collection was in 1906 (but see Pillans below as 1907).
.
Nothing is known about its pollinators, which were probably insects.

It is a member of the Teenage Heaths (section Ephebus) (or surf here), characterized by their "pubes" - or finely hairy corollas - with parts largely contained within the corolla and small sepals.

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