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Hermanus Pincushion - Leucospermum gracile

This member of the Flat Pincushion group is common from Bot River to Bredasdorp. However, because of its habit it is easily overlooked. The Hermanus Pincushion creeps along the rocks on the mountain slopes. It prefers rocky areas, where it may be quite common. Flowering begins in May and ends in March, with a peak in October to January. The pollinator of this species is unknown, but it is likely to be the Orangebreasted Sunbird. Fruit are dropped in summer and the ants collect the seeds and bury them in their nests. They are thus safe and ready for the hot summer fires. Germination only occurs if the veld is burned, and after the first heavy autumn or winter rains. By three years the young plants have flowered again and are ready for the next fire. The mountains south of the Ruens are under threat. Fully two-thirds of localities for this species are under threat by invasive alien pines, wattles and Needlebushes. Clearing our mountains of aliens is a top priority, not only for yielding more water, but also for protecting our rich flora.

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