Vumba Nature

Ecologically unrelated areas where the only cover is provided by low shrubs or dense herbaceous plants.

1. MONTANE ERICOID SCRUB

ericoid scrub

Found above 1800 m on the top of Castle Beacon and Lion Rock. Dominant species are Erica spp., Protea spp.Strelitzia caudataAloe arborescens  and Passerina montana. Trees are mostly absent or stunted. Ferns such as Mohria lepigera and Elaphoglossum acrostichioides survive in the shelter of rock crevices.

 

2. SECONDARY BRACKEN SCRUB

 

smilax anceps

Erythrina lysistemonThis is a secondary vegetation type, mostly between 1450-1650 m, where it forms an ecotone between forest and grassland.   When protected from fire it will probably develop into secondary forest. Cussonia spicataBridelia micranthaBuddleja salvifoliaErythrina lysistemonTrema orientalis are occassional trees that might occur in this type of vegetation, together with prolific thorny vines such as Rubus spp., Toddalia asiatica and Smilax anceps. The orchid and fern flora is rather poor in this vegetation type with the exception of the ubiquitous bracken (Pteridium aquilinum).

 

 

3. SECONDARY DODONAEA-VERNONIA SCRUB 

This scrubland type can be found between 1250-1450m, where abandoned coffee plantations are being reclaimed by natural vegetation. A good example is the Greendale Estate within the Leopard Rock Game Reserve. Dominant species are Vernonia myriantha, Dodonaea angustifolia and Trema orientalis. Lantana camara is a serious alien invasive threat, while Gouania longispicata and Cyathula uncinulata are common climbers.

cyathula uncinulata vernonia myriantha
Photos©B.Wursten

 

4. MIXED APHLOIA-THEIFORMIS SCRUB

This rare vegetation type is known from a small, steeply sloping area (less than 3 ha) at around 1550m on the Misty Manor property (Muller 2004). Both forest and open woodland species are present, all not growing any taller than shrub size. Among the species listed are Aphloia theiformis, Faurea rochetiana, Rapanea melanophloeos, Erica hexandra, Rhus chirindensis and Ochna holstii.

faurea rochetiana aphloia theiformis
Photos©B.Wursten