Botsoc Kogelberg Next Talk

AGM

Kogelberg Branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa Annual General Meeting

Date: 21 July 2018
Time: 17:30 for 18:00
Venue: Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens

Talk

Topic: Thunberg and Sparrman – Apostles of Linnaeus in South Africa

Presenter: John Rourke
Date: 21 July 2018
Time: After AGM
Venue: Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens

The Apostles of Linnaeus were a group of students who carried out botanical and zoological expeditions throughout the world that were either devised or approved by botanist Carl Linnaeus. The expeditions took place during the latter half of the 18th century and the students were designated ‘apostles’ by Linnaeus.

Carl Peter Thunberg (1743–1828) arrived in Uppsala at the age of 18. Having completed his dissertation in 1770, he travelled to Paris. On the way back to Sweden he met Linnaeus’ friend Johannes Burman in Amsterdam. With Burman’s influence, Thunberg became a surgeon in the Dutch East India Company. He joined an expedition heading to Japan, which at that time was only open for Dutch ships. The expedition stopped in South Africa in 1772 where it remained for three years. During this time Thunberg found 300 new plant species and sent many of his findings to Linnaeus. In 1775, the expedition continued to Java and then to Japan. After 15 months, he returned to Sweden, passing Sri Lanka on the way. From his findings in Japan, Thunberg published Flora Japonica. From his findings in South Africa, he published Flora Capensis.

Anders Sparrman (1748–1820) began his career with a two-year-long journey to China as a surgeon on a Swedish East India Company ship. In 1771, he sailed to South Africa as one of Linnaeus’ apostles where he tutored and explored the flora and fauna. The next year, joined Cook’s second expedition on Resolution when he visited and studied plants in various locations including Oceania and South America. He returned to South Africa two years later having made many botanical findings. He stayed on for another eight months before returning to Uppsala in 1776.

Talk

Topic: Mountain Deserts

Presenter: Werner Vogt
Date: 18 August 2018
Time: 17:30 for 18:00
Venue: Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens

The most well known mountain desert in South Africa is found in the Richtersveld National Park. Despite being a desert, the Richtersveld has the most extraordinary biodiversity. Around 2700 species exist in this area alone with almost 600 existing nowhere else. The Richtersveld is home to the giant Baster Quiver Tree (Aloe pilansii), of which only a few hundred remain on the remote Richtersveld mountaintops. The “Halfmens” (Pachypodium namaquanum), a bizarre plant which from a distance resemble faraway people, is found here. It is also home to numerous species of lithops, which are tiny succulent plants which resemble small stones.

An extraordinary site is the mat of lichen that stands out starkly in the desert environment. The Lichen Hill is covered in moss-like lichen in bright orange, greens and browns. Sustained by the mist that creeps in from the Atlantic over the semi semi-desert coastal plains, this hill has developed the highest biomass and diversity of all known lichen fields and is of huge interest to ecologists. It hosts at least 30 known species of lichen, as well as species of bold higher plants taking advantage of the shelter provided by this mat of lichen.

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