n Veld & Flora - Out of the ashes - : feature

Volume 91, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0042-3203


While innumerable fynbos geophytes like flower especially well in the wake of wildfires, there is a smaller, more specialized group of fynbos species that are wholly dependent on the effects of fire for flowering to take place at all. One of these is the remarkable fire lily, . The smoke stimulus generated by these fires is so strong that inflorescences of this species often reach full flowering stage in as little as seven to nine days following a burn. Glowing in an ashen landscape, their orangy-red trumpets easily attract the attention of their sunbird pollinators. Flowering frequency in this specialized group is a highly erratic affair, generally most prolific in the season immediately following the fire and declining rapidly in the succeeding season, and finally ceasing completely in the third, or at most, the fourth season, as the surrounding veld matures.

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