Cape Flats Sand Fynbos


Distribution: Largely endemic to the City of Cape Town: Cape Flats from Blouberg and Koeberg Hills west of the Tygerberg Hills to Lakeside and Pelican Park in the south near False Bay, from Bellville and Durbanville to Klapmuts and Joostenberg Hill in the east, and to the southwest of the Bottelary Hills to Macassar and Firgrove in the south. Altitude 20–200 m. Nearly 100% of this vegetation type occurs within the City and 85% is transformed.

Vegetation & Landscape Features: Moderately undulating and flat plains, with dense, moderately tall, ericoid shrubland containing scattered emergent tall shrubs. Proteoid and restioid fynbos are dominant, with asteraceous and ericaceous fynbos occurring in drier and wetter areas, respectively.

Geology & Soils: Acid, tertiary, deep, grey regic sands, usually white, often Lamotte form.

Climate: Winter-rainfall regime with precipitation peaking from May to August. MAP 580–980 mm (mean: 575 mm). Mists occur frequently in winter. Mean daily maximum and minimum monthly temperatures 27.1°C and 7.3°C for February and July, respectively. Frost incidence about 3 days per year. This is the wettest and the coolest of the West Coast sand fynbos types.

Endemic Taxa: Low Shrubs: Erica margaritacea, Aspalathus variegata (probably extinct), Athanasia capitata, Cliffortia ericifolia, Erica pyramidalisW, E. turgida, E. verticillata, Leucadendron levisanus, Liparia graminifolia, Serruria aemula, S. foeniculacea, S. furcellata. Succulent Shrub: Lampranthus stenus. Geophytic Herb: Ixia versicolor. Graminoids: Tetraria variabilis, Trianoptiles solitaria.

Conservation: Critically endangered. Target 30%. Less than 1% statutorily conserved as small patches in the Table Mountain National Park as well as some private conservation areas such as Plattekloof 430 and Blaauwberg Hill. This is the most transformed of the sand fynbos types—more than 85% of the area has already been transformed (hence the conservation target remains unattainable) by urban sprawl (Cape Town metropolitan area) and for cultivation. Most remaining patches are small pockets surrounded by urban areas, for example Rondevlei, Kenilworth, Milnerton, 6BKD, Plattekloof, and Rondebosch Common. Most of these patches have been identified as ‘Core Conservation Sites’. They are mismanaged by mowing, fire protection and by alien plant invasion. Mowing eliminates serotinous and taller species, while fire protection results in a few common thicket species (e.g. Carpobrotus edulis, Chrysanthemoides monilifera), replacing the rich fynbos species. Alien woody species include Acacia saligna, A. cyclops and species of Pinus and Eucalyptus. Dumping and spread of alien grasses (both annual and Kikuyu Pennisetum clandestinum) are also a major problem. Alien acacias result in elevated nutrient levels and a conversion to Eragrostis curvula grassland and near-annual fires. Some 94 Red Data sand fynbos plant species occur on the remnants within Cape Town. The endemics include six species listed as extinct in the wild, some of which are being reintroduced from botanical gardens.

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Historical vegetation cover within the boundaries of Cape Town.

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Historical cover
547 km2
Percentage in Cape Town
Current area in Cape Town
77.0 km2
Conserved/managed in Cape Town
5 km2
Conservation status
CR: Critically Endangered


We have the following species in our database that match this vegetation type.
Genus Scientific name Common name Features
Agrostis Agrostis lachnantha var. calycina
Aizoon Aizoon sarmentosum
Albuca Albuca flaccida
Albuca Albuca juncifolia Slime lily Nectar-rich (sunbird)
Albuca Albuca maxima
Amaryllis Amaryllis belladonna
Anisodontea Anisodontea scabrosa rough-leaf African mallow, sand rose, pink mallow, hairy mallow
Anthospermum Anthospermum aethiopicum
Aponogeton Aponogeton angustifolius
Aponogeton Aponogeton distachyos Cape pond weed
Arctopus Arctopus echinatus
Arctotheca Arctotheca calendula Capeweed
Aristea Aristea africana Medicinal use
Aristea Aristea bakeri
Aristea Aristea cuspidata
Aristea Aristea glauca
Aspalathus Aspalathus acuminata
Aspalathus Aspalathus angustifolia
Aspalathus Aspalathus cordata
Aspalathus Aspalathus ericifolia
Aspalathus Aspalathus filicaulis
Aspalathus Aspalathus hispida
Aspalathus Aspalathus retroflexa
Aspalathus Aspalathus sericea
Aspalathus Aspalathus spinosa
Aspalathus Aspalathus ternata
Aspalathus Aspalathus tridentata
Asparagus Asparagus asparagoides
Asparagus Asparagus capensis Wild Asparagus
Asparagus Asparagus rubicundus
Athanasia Athanasia crithmifolia
Athanasia Athanasia trifurcata
Babiana Babiana ambigua
Babiana Babiana fragrans
Babiana Babiana villosa
Baeometra Baeometra uniflora
Berkheya Berkheya rigida
Berzelia Berzelia abrotanoides Redlegs
Bobartia Bobartia indica
Bobartia Bobartia sp.
Bryum Bryum argenteum
Bulbine Bulbine favosa
Bulbinella Bulbinella triquetra
Caesia Caesia contorta
Calopsis Calopsis rigorata
Campylopus Campylopus sp.
Carpanthea Carpanthea pomeridiana
Carpobrotus Carpobrotus acinaciformis Elands sour fig Medicinal use
Carpobrotus Carpobrotus edulis Sour fig Medicinal use
Cassytha Cassytha ciliolata
Centella Centella asiatica
Centella Centella macrocarpa
Centella Centella tridentata
Cerastium Cerastium capense
Cerastium Cerastium glomeratum
Chironia Chironia c.f tetragona
Chlorophytum Chlorophytum rangei
Chondropetalum Chondropetalum nudum
Chrysanthemoides Chrysanthemoides incana
Chrysitrix Chrysitrix capensis
Cliffortia Cliffortia hirta
Cliffortia Cliffortia juniperina
Cliffortia Cliffortia polygonifolia
Cliffortia Cliffortia ruscifolia
Corycium Corycium orobanchoides
Cotula Cotula coronopifolia
Cotula Cotula filifolia
Cotula Cotula turbinata
Cotula Cotula vulgaris
Crassula Crassula ciliata
Crassula Crassula decumbens var. brachyphylla
Crassula Crassula dejecta doily crassula
Crassula Crassula glomerata
Crassula Crassula natans
Crassula Crassula thunbergiana subsp. thunbergiana
Crotalaria Crotalaria excisa
Cymbopogon Cymbopogon marginatus
Cynodon Cynodon dactylon
Cyperus Cyperus cf. sphaerospermus Schrad.
Cyperus Cyperus lanceus
Cyperus Cyperus longus
Cyperus Cyperus mundtii
Cyperus Cyperus sphaerospermus
Cyperus Cyperus textilis Umbrella sedge
Cyphia Cyphia bulbosa
Cyphia Cyphia digitata
Cyphia Cyphia incisa
Diastella Diastella proteoides
Dimorphotheca Dimorphotheca pluvialis
Disa Disa barbata
Disa Disa bracteata
Disa Disa bracteata Sw.
Dischisma Dischisma capitatum
Disperis Disperis villosa
Drimia Drimia filifolia
Drimia Drimia minor
Drosera Drosera cistiflora
Drosera Drosera hilaris
Drosera Drosera trinervia
Drosera Drosera trinervia Spreng.
Edmondia Edmondia sesamoides
Ehrharta Ehrharta calycina
Ehrharta Ehrharta erecta Lam.
Ehrharta Ehrharta longiflora J.E.Sm.
Ehrharta Ehrharta villosa
Elegia Elegia asperiflora
Elegia Elegia nuda
Elegia Elegia recta
Elytropappus Elytropappus rhinocerotis
Empodium Empodium plicatum
Eragrostis Eragrostis brizoides
Eragrostis Eragrostis capensis
Eragrostis Eragrostis curvula
Erepsia Erepsia aspera
Erepsia Erepsia gracilis
Erica Erica corifolia
Erica Erica hispidula
Erica Erica imbricata
Erica Erica lasciva
Erica Erica mammosa Nine-pin Heath Nectar-rich (sunbird)
Erica Erica margaritaceae
Erica Erica mauritanica
Erica Erica multumbellifera
Erica Erica muscosa
Erica Erica pulchella
Erica Erica simils
Erica Erica subdivaricata
Erica Erica tristis
Erica Erica turgida
Erica Erica verticillata Nectar-rich (sunbird)
Eriospermum Eriospermum cordiforme
Eriospermum Eriospermum lanceifolium
Eriospermum Eriospermum pumilum
Eriospermum Eriospermum spirale
Euphorbia Euphorbia tuberosa
Eustegia Eustegia filiformis
Eustegia Eustegia minuta
Falkia Falkia repens
Felicia Felicia heterophylla
Felicia Felicia tenella
Felicia Felicia tenella subsp. longifolia
Ficinia Ficinia bulbosa
Ficinia Ficinia capitella
Ficinia Ficinia filiformis
Ficinia Ficinia india
Ficinia Ficinia indica
Ficinia Ficinia nodosa
Ficinia Ficinia oligantha
Fuirena Fuirena hirsuta
Gazania Gazania pectinata
Geissorhiza Geissorhiza aspera
Geissorhiza Geissorhiza aspera Goldblatt
Geissorhiza Geissorhiza geminata
Geissorhiza Geissorhiza hispidula
Geissorhiza Geissorhiza imbricata
Geranium Geranium incanum
Gethyllis Gethyllis afra
Gladiolus Gladiolus undulatus Painted Lady
Gnidia Gnidia juniperifolia Lam.
Gnidia Gnidia subulata Lam.
Gomphocarpus Gomphocarpus physocarpus
Gomphocarpus Gomphocarpus sp.
Helichrysum Helichrysum crispum (H. patulum?)
Helichrysum Helichrysum cymosum
Heliophila Heliophila africana Flax
Heliophila Heliophila pursila
Heliophila Heliophila pusilla
Hellmuthia Hellmuthia membranacea
Hemimeris Hemimeris sabulosa
Hermannia Hermannia cuneifolia
Hermannia Hermannia diffusa
Hesperantha Hesperantha falcata
Hesperantha Hesperantha radiata
Hessea Hessea cinnamomea
Holothrix Holothrix villosa
Holothrix Holothrix villosa Lindl.
Imperata Imperata cylindrica
Indigofera Indigofera capillaris
Isoetes Isoetes stellenbossiensis
Isolepis Isolepis bulbifera
Isolepis Isolepis hystrix
Isolepis Isolepis levynsiana
Isolepis Isolepis marginata
Isolepis Isolepis prolifera
Isolepis Isolepis rubicunda
Ixia Ixia dubia
Ixia Ixia maculata var maculata
Ixia Ixia monadelpha
Ixia Ixia paniculata
Juncus Juncus bufonius
Juncus Juncus capensis
Juncus Juncus cephalotes
Juncus Juncus drageanus
Juncus Juncus effusus
Juncus Juncus kraussii Hochst. subsp. kraussii
Juncus Juncus oxycarpus
Koeleria Koeleria capensis
Lachenalia Lachenalia contaminata
Lachenalia Lachenalia reflexa Yellow soldier Nectar-rich (sunbird)
Lachenalia Lachenalia unifolia
Lachenalia Lachenalia variegata
Lachnaea Lachnaea grandiflora
Lampranthus Lampranthus aurantiacus Ice Plant Bush
Lampranthus Lampranthus bicolor Bicoloured lampranthus
Lampranthus Lampranthus calcaratus
Lampranthus Lampranthus filicaulis
Lampranthus Lampranthus glaucus Yellow noon flower
Lampranthus Lampranthus reptans Creeping Brightfig
Lampranthus Lampranthus stenus
Lampranthus Lampranthus tegens
Laurembergia Laurembergia repens
Lebeckia Lebeckia plukenetiana
Lemna Lemna gibba
Lepidium Lepidium africanum
Leucadendron Leucadendron levisanus
Leucadendron Leucadendron salignum Common Sunshine Conebush
Leucospermum Leucospermum conocarpodendron Grey tree pincushion Nectar-rich (sunbird) Medicinal use
Lichtensteinia Lichtensteinia obscura
Lobelia Lobelia erinus
Lobelia Lobelia quadrisepala
Lobelia Lobelia setacea
Lotononis Lotononis involucrata
Lotononis Lotononis oxyptera
Lotononis Lotononis parviflora
Mariscus Mariscus thunbergii
Merxmuellera Merxmuellera cincta
Metalasia Metalasia muricata White Bristle Bush Medicinal use
Micranthus Micranthus alopecuroides
Micranthus Micranthus junceus
Monopsis Monopsis debilis
Monopsis Monopsis lutea
Monopsis Monopsis simplex
Moraea Moraea angusta
Moraea Moraea cf. fugax
Moraea Moraea collina Cape Tulip
Moraea Moraea elsiae Sticky Sand Tulip
Moraea Moraea flaccida One-leaf Cape Tulip
Moraea Moraea fugacissima Lunch Clockflower
Moraea Moraea fugax subsp. filicaulis Threadstalk Tulp
Moraea Moraea gawleri Crisp Tulp
Moraea Moraea lewisiae Ostrich Threadstar
Moraea Moraea lewisiae subsp lewisiae Ostrich Bulb
Moraea Moraea lugubris Crown Tulp
Moraea Moraea miniata Two-leaved Cape Tulip
Moraea Moraea miniata Andrews Poison Bulb
Moraea Moraea papilionacea Hairy Iris
Moraea Moraea ramosissima Giant Iris
Moraea Moraea tripetala Blue Tulp
Moraea Moraea viscaria Trailing Tulp
Morella Morella cordifolia
Morella Morella quercifolia Oak-leafed waxberry Bird friendly Medicinal use
Muraltia Muraltia ericoides
Muraltia Muraltia filiformis
Muraltia Muraltia heisteria
Muraltia Muraltia macropetala Harv.
Nemesia Nemesia affinis Benth.
Nenax Nenax acerosa Gaertn.
Nerine Nerine humilis
Nylandtia Nylandtia spinosa
Onixotis Onixotis punctata
Ornithogalum Ornithogalum dregeanum
Ornithogalum Ornithogalum fragrans
Ornithogalum Ornithogalum juncifolium
Ornithogalum Ornithogalum thyrsoides Chincherinchee Medicinal use
Orphium Orphium frutescens
Osteospermum Osteospermum moniliferum Tickberry Medicinal use
Otholobium Otholobium bracteolatum Cape Town pea
Otholobium Otholobium virgatum
Oxalis Oxalis caprina Goat's foot
Oxalis Oxalis eckloniana
Oxalis Oxalis eckloniana var. sonderi
Oxalis Oxalis glabra
Oxalis Oxalis hirta Hairy sorrel
Oxalis Oxalis livida var. altior
Oxalis Oxalis luteola
Oxalis Oxalis minuta
Oxalis Oxalis monophylla
Oxalis Oxalis nidulans var. denticulata
Oxalis Oxalis obtusa
Oxalis Oxalis pes-caprae Bermuda-buttercup
Oxalis Oxalis purpurea
Oxalis Oxalis pusilla
Oxalis Oxalis versicolor
Pauridia Pauridia minuta
Pelargonium Pelargonium auritum var. auritum
Pelargonium Pelargonium betulinum Camphor-scented pelargonium Medicinal use
Pelargonium Pelargonium capitatum Rose-scented pelargonium Medicinal use
Pelargonium Pelargonium cucullatum Hooded-leaf pelargonium Bird friendly Medicinal use
Pelargonium Pelargonium multicaule
Pelargonium Pelargonium myrrhifolium
Pelargonium Pelargonium tabulare
Pelargonium Pelargonium triste Night-scented pelargonium Medicinal use
Pentaschistis Pentaschistis pallida
Persicaria Persicaria decipiens
Pharnaceum Pharnaceum elongatum
Pharnaceum Pharnaceum incanum
Pharnaceum Pharnaceum lineare
Phragmites Phragmites australis
Platycaulos Platycaulos c.f. compressus
Plecostachys Plecostachys serpyllifolia
Podalyria Podalyria calyptrata
Podalyria Podalyria montana
Polygala Polygala garcinii
Protea Protea burchellii Nectar-rich (sunbird) Bird friendly
Protea Protea repens Sugarbush Nectar-rich (sunbird) Bird friendly Medicinal use
Pseudognaphalium Pseudognaphalium undulatum
Psoralea Psoralea alata
Psoralea Psoralea ensifolia
Psoralea Psoralea laxa
Psoralea Psoralea pinnata Fountain bush
Pteridium Pteridium aquilinum
Pterygodium Pterygodium catholicum
Pycreus Pycreus polystachyos
Roella Roella ciliata
Roella Roella prostrata
Romulea Romulea flava
Romulea Romulea rosea
Rumex Rumex lativalvis Meisn.
Ruschia Ruschia geminiflora
Ruschia Ruschia macowanii Sea Tentfig
Salvia Salvia lanceolata Rusty sage Nectar-rich (sunbird) Medicinal use
Satyrium Satyrium bicorne
Satyrium Satyrium odorum
Schoenus Schoenus nigricans
Scirpoides Scirpoides thubergii
Searsia Searsia angustifolia
Searsia Searsia glauca
Searsia Searsia laevigata
Searsia Searsia lucida
Sebaea Sebaea aurea
Senecio Senecio abruptus
Senecio Senecio burchellii
Senecio Senecio elegans
Senecio Senecio halimifolius
Senecio Senecio littoreus
Senecio Senecio pubigerus
Senecio Senecio purpureus
Senecio Senecio rigidus
Seriphium Seriphium plumosum Kooigoed Medicinal use
Serruria Serruria glomerata Cluster Spiderhead
Sparaxis Sparaxis bulbifera
Sparaxis Sparaxis grandiflora
Spiloxene Spiloxene alba White Capestar
Spiloxene Spiloxene aquatica Water Capestar
Spiloxene Spiloxene canaliculata Browneye Capestar
Spiloxene Spiloxene capensis Peacock Flower
Spiloxene Spiloxene minuta Pygmy Capestar
Spiloxene Spiloxene ovata
Spiloxene Spiloxene schlechteri
Spiloxene Spiloxene serrata
Sporobolus Sporobolus africanus
Sporobolus Sporobolus capensis
Staberoha Staberoha cernua
Staberoha Staberoha cf. cernua
Staberoha Staberoha cf. distachyos Cape grass
Stenotaphrum Stenotaphrum secundatum
Stentotaphrum Stentotaphrum familiatum
Stentotaphrum Stentotaphrum secundatum
Stoebe Stoebe capitata
Stoebe Stoebe fusca
Strumaria Strumaria tenella subsp. tenella
Struthiola Struthiola dodecandra
Struthiola Struthiola striata Roemenaggie
Tetraria Tetraria cuspidata
Tetraria Tetraria sp.
Thamnochortus Thamnochortus punctatus Pillans
Themeda Themeda triandra Forssk.
Thesium Thesium spicatum
Trachyandra Trachyandra ciliata
Trachyandra Trachyandra divaricata
Trachyandra Trachyandra filiformis
Trachyandra Trachyandra hirsutiflora
Trachyandra Trachyandra hispida
Trachyandra Trachyandra revoluta
Trianoptiles Trianoptiles capensis
Trianoptiles Trianoptiles solitaria
Tribolium Tribolium uniolae
Tridactyle Tridactyle bicaudata
Triglochin Triglochin bulbosa
Tripteris Tripteris clandestina Less.
Tulbaghia Tulbaghia alliacea
Ursinia Ursinia anthemoides
Ursinia Ursinia anthemoides subsp. anthemoides
Ursinia Ursinia paleacea
Utricularia Utricularia bisquamata
Utricularia Utricularia bisquamata Schrank
Vellereophyton Vellereophyton dealbatum
Wachendorfia Wachendorfia brachyandra
Wachendorfia Wachendorfia paniculata Kofffiepit
Wachendorfia Wachendorfia thyrsiflora
Wahlenbergia Wahlenbergia capensis
Wahlenbergia Wahlenbergia fruticosa
Wahlenbergia Wahlenbergia subulata
Watsonia Watsonia borbonica Pink watsonia
Watsonia Watsonia meriana Bugle lily Nectar-rich (sunbird)
Wimmerella Wimmerella secunda
Wurmbea Wurmbea capensis
Wurmbea Wurmbea spicata
Zantedeschia Zantedeschia aethiopica White arum lily Bird friendly Medicinal use
Information on Cape Town's vegetation comes from Summarized Descriptions of National Vegetation Types Occurring in the City of Cape Town by Patricia Holmes, Biodiversity Management Branch, July 2008

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