Original Research

Vegetation of the coastal fynbos and rocky headlands south of George, South Africa

D. B. Hoare, J. E. Victor, R. A. Lubke
Bothalia | Vol 30, No 1 | a543 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v30i1.543 | © 2000 D. B. Hoare, J. E. Victor, R. A. Lubke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 2000 | Published: 03 February 2000

About the author(s)

D. B. Hoare, Department of Botany, Rhodes University, South Africa
J. E. Victor, National Botanical Institute, South Africa
R. A. Lubke, Department of Botany, Rhodes University, South Africa

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Abstract

Community structure and composition of the coastal fynbos and rocky headland plant communities south of George, southern Cape, were studied. Vegetation was analysed using standard sampling procedures of the floristic-sociological approach of Braun-Blanquet. The releve data were subject to TWIN SPAN-based divisive classification, and ordinated by Principal Coordinates Analysis with the aim to identify vegetation coenocline subsequently interpreted in terms of under­lying environmental gradients. Most of the sampled vegetation was classified as coastal fynbos. The  Leucadendron salignum-Tetraria cuspidata Fynbos Community was found to occupy sheltered habitats, whereas the  Relhania calyci- na-Passerina vulgaris Fynbos Community was found in exposed habitats The other two communities characterise strong­ly exposed rocky headlands. The Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus-Ruschia tenella Community is wind-sheared scrub, and the Gazania rigens- Limonium scabrum Rocky Headland Community is a loose-canopy, low-grown herbland, characterised by the occurrence of partly salt-tolerant and succulent herbs. The ordination of the fynbos communities revealed a horseshoe structure allowing a direct recognition of a coenocline spanning two fynbos communities along the Axis 1 interpreted in terms of exposure to wind and salt spray. A considerable amount of alien plant infestation was also present. This appears to be the largest threat to the continued existence of this coastal fynbos.


Keywords

gradient analysis; numerical syntaxonomy; ordination; phytogeography; phytosociology

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