Cape Inland Saltpans


Excerpts from the "Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland" (Strelitzia 19, pages 649-650, 2006).

Small depressions dominated by low succulent scrub composed of creeping chenopods and salt-tolerant herbs & grasses.  

Originally, most of the saline pans were coastal lagoons but they became dry after having been cut off from the sea - they may become temporarily flooded by winter rains and remain mostly dry in summer.

Important taxa are: Morella cordifolia, Orphium frutescens, Senecio halimifolius, Sarcocornia capensis, S. mossiana complex, Atriplex cinerea subsp. bolusii, Lycium cinereum, Sarcocornia pillansia, Frankenia repens, Limonium equisetinum, L. kraussianum, Chironia baccifera, C. decumbens, C. tetragona, Malephra luteola, Plantago crassifolia complex, Sarcocornia natalensis, Halopeplis amplexicaulis, Elegia microcarpum, C. nudum, Sporobolus virginicus, Elegia verreauxii, Ficinia lateralis, F. ramosissima, Polypogon monspeliensis, Prionanthium pholiuroides, Tribolium hispidum

Endemic taxa are Disphyma dunsdonii, Drosanthemum salicola, Lampranthus salicola, Dymondia margaretae, Limonium anthericoides, Dorotheanthus clavatus, Pseudalthenia aschersoniana.

Conservation status is Vulnerable. Target is 24%. Some 20% statutorily conserved in the Agulhas and West Coast National Parks as well as in the Soetendalsvlei and Rocherpan Nature Reserve.  Almost 3% enjoys protection on private land (Rietvlei, Rhenosterkop). More than 20% has been transformed for cultivated land, mines or by urban sprawl. Alien Australian herbaceous Atriplex species show invasive behaviour in places.

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Historical vegetation cover within the boundaries of Cape Town.

View vegetation map


Historical cover
2 km2
Percentage in Cape Town
Current area in Cape Town
2.0 km2
Conserved/managed in Cape Town
2 km2
Conservation status
LC: Least Concern
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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