Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Southern Africa section in the University of California Botanical Garden

The internationally known University of California Botanical Garden (UCBG) has a network of paths and narrow trails meandering through plant biodiversity including flowers and trees from many parts of the world. The world is mapped into the hilly garden landscape by featuring separate geographic regions. The Southern Africa region is one of them. The UCBG brochure introduces this section as follows:
This southwest-facing slope contains a stunning collection of plants from one of the most diverse botanical regions of the world. The prominent rocky, karoo habitat is a riot of color in spring with blooming bulbs and annuals such as Cape cowslips (Lachenalia), baboon flowers (Babiana), and Cape marigolds (Dimorphoteca). The chaparral-like fynbos beds feature fine-leaved heaths (Erica), proteas (Protea), and rush-like restios (including Restio, Elegia). Cycads, rare primitive conifer relatives older than the dinosaurs, are featured in a cliff-like simulation of their native Eastern Cape Province.

If you are living in the Bay Area or nearby, a ticket for Berkeley's Botanical Garden is probably the best short-cut to Southern Africa. Simulate an African travel trip within the Botanical Garden, located about a mile east from campus and the football and soccer stadium (California Memorial Stadium). Spring or summer is a great time for a visit. Start your “Hello, South Africa!” tour right here and get to know plants from South Africa's Cape Provinces and other areas: Phylica pubescens, Natal bottlebrush, Aloe saponaria, and blue margarito.

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