Greater mountain carnation (Lachnaea grandiflora)

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Lachnaea grandiflora flowering
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Greater mountain carnation fact file

Greater mountain carnation description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderMalvales
FamilyThymelaeaceae
GenusLachnaea (1)

The greater mountain carnation is a rounded shrub that grows to between 20 and 60 centimetres tall (4). The small, green leaves are narrowly oblong to lance-shaped, and grow pressed close to the stem. During a few months each year, the branch tips of the greater mountain carnation bear flowers. Measuring around 12 millimetres across, the flowers may be pink or white, and the outside is silky to the touch (2) (4).

Size
Height: up to 60 cm (2)
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Greater mountain carnation biology

This South African shrub flowers from August until June (4). All species belonging to the Thymelaeaceae family have hermaphroditic flowers, meaning that each flower contains both male and female sexual organs; the stamen and pistil respectively (5).

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Greater mountain carnation range

Endemic to Cape Floristic Region, a ‘hot-spot’ of plant diversity in south-western South Africa. This species is distributed from Cedarberg to Agulhas (4).

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Greater mountain carnation habitat

The greater mountain carnation grows on sandy flats and lower slopes, at elevations of 15 to 1,000 metres (4).

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Greater mountain carnation status

Classified as Least Concern on the Interim Red Data List of South African Plant Taxa (3).

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Greater mountain carnation threats

The greater mountain carnation is threatened by the encroachment of urban development and alien plant infestation (6). Urban development currently covers 1.6 percent of the Cape Floristic Region (7), and with the vast city of Cape Town lying almost at the centre of the greater mountain carnation’s range, any expansion could have a significant impact on this species. Worryingly, Cape Town’s population is expected to double by the year 2025 (8). Alien trees and shrubs, (introduced to supplement the few tree species that occur within the Cape), have spread and invaded vast areas of the region. These alien species alter the delicate balance of the natural habitat, to the detriment of many native plant species (8).

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Greater mountain carnation conservation

There are no specific conservation measures known to be in place for the greater mountain carnation; however, within the Cape Floristic Region, there are a number of protected areas (9), and a number of conservation organisations are working to conserve this botanically rich habitat. Conservation actions include purchasing land to protect it from the threats of encroaching agriculture and urban development (10), the removal of alien plants, and the establishment of new protected areas (8); measures that should benefit this vulnerable shrub.

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Find out more

For further information on the Cape Floristic Region and its conservation see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Cape Floristic Region
An area occupying about 90,000 square kilometres in South Africa that contains an incredibly high diversity of plant species (around 8,700 species), of which 68 percent are found no where else.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
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References

  1. Aluka (February, 2008)
    http://www.aluka.org/
  2. Paterson-Jones, C. and Manning, J. (2007) Ecoguide Fynbos. Briza Publications, Pretoria, South Africa.
  3. Threatened Species Programme. (2007) Interim Red Data List of South African Plant Taxa. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa. Available at:
    http://www.sanbi.org/biodiversity/reddata.htm
  4. Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J. (2000) Cape Plants: A Conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. National Botanical Institute of South Africa, Pretoria .
  5. Allaby, M. (1998) Dictionary of Plant Sciences. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Golding, J.S. (2002) Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 14. SABONET, Pretoria.
  7. Rouget, M., Richardson, D.M., Cowling, R.M., Lloyd, J.W. and Lombard, A.T. (2003) Current patterns of habitat transformation and future threats to biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems of the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. Biological Conservation, 112: 63 - 85.
  8. Conservation International: Biodiversity Hotspots (February, 2008)
    http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/hotspots/cape_floristic/Pages/default.aspx
  9. UNEP-WCMC: Cape Floral Protected Areas of South Africa (February, 2008)
    http://www.unep-wcmc.org/sites/wh/pdf/CAPE%20FLORAL%20REGION.pdf
  10. Fauna and Flora International (February, 2008)
    http://www.fauna-flora.org/fynbos.php
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Image credit

Lachnaea grandiflora flowering  
Lachnaea grandiflora flowering

© Colin Paterson-Jones / naturalvisions.co.uk

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