Golden Pagoda - Mimetes Chrysanthus
Outramps Strike Gold! Mi chrysanthus!
The Golden Pagoda caused a sensation in 1987 when it was discovered by Willie Julies the local Game Ranger, in the Gamka Nature Reserve - only 17 years ago the reserve was established to protect some Mountain Zebra. The species was the symbol for Flora '88. This relatively recent discovery was attributed to the species' remote distribution in the centre of the isolated Gamka Mountains.
So where is this isolated, remote, inaccessible population which the Outramps have discovered? Less than 3 km from the R62 from George to Uniondale, above the Paardepoort Rd, immediately north of the Montagu and Cradock Passes at Herold north of George! This is a range extension of 50 km, and immediately raises the possibility that the species might be common on the hills between the Kammanassie River and the Outeniqua Mountains. So Eseljachpoort, Maatjiespoon and Bakenskop watch out!
Well done Outramps! But of course it had to be there! If anyone had asked me I would have told them that it occurs west of Bakenkop in the Gamkaberg, so it would also have to be west of Bakenkop in the Langkloof. I have gone through my maps and have discovered that this is soon going to be a common species - some 16 more Bakenkops exist in the Cape!
While surveying the area, please keep a lookout for Leucospermum pluridens - Robinson Pincushion. An unconfirmed sighting has been received from the Baviaanskloof - a possible range eaension of 150 km. The area north of the Outeniquas is also ideal habitat for this species which will probably also be found in Gamka Nature Reserve when someone looks in the right place. It has apparently been ploughed up at its type locality! Does anyone know anything more about the Baviaanskloof sighting?
Here are some photographs of the Golden Pagoda - Mi chrysanthus before and after a recent fire.