IT IS tiny, blue and brand new.
It is a species of fynbos that has been discovered near Plettenberg Bay on a 16km strip of land between the Robberg Peninsula and Harkerville.
While the plant may have been known to some strandlopers of the past, or to generations of fishermen who have thrown a line from the Robberg rocks, it was certainly new to science.
Yesterday Chris von Christierson, chairman of the Robberg Coastal Corridor Landowners Association, announced the discovery of the flower.
It is from the family Fabaceae and has been called Psoralea vanberkelae after plant expert Nicky van Berkel.
The discovery of this new fynbos species was confirmed by UK-based Professor Charles Stirton, an Honorary Research Associate from the Botany Department at UCT, who visited the site specially to study the plant.
“The Robberg Coastal Corridor is an important preserved piece of coastal vegetation and I fully support the campaign to get the area declared a Protected Environment,” he said.
South Africa’s conservation of fynbos is critical to the survival of this botanical treasure.
Many fynbos species are specialists and some occur only on a few hectares – nowhere else.
Encouragingly, 20 percent of this kingdom is officially conserved, but its sheer diversity means that much remains unprotected.
“The Robberg Coastal Corridor Landowners Association has been campaigning to have the area declared a Protected Environment,” says Von Christierson.
“We hope that the discovery of Psoralea vanberkelae will help our cause.” – Staff Writer