Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands


Distribution: W Cape; altitude from 0-400m. 14.7% of this vegetation type occurs within and 85.3% outside the City. However transformation rates are higher inside City borders (55%) than nationally (22%).

Vegetation & landscape: flats & depressions with extensive tall reeds of Phragmites australis & Typha capensis, temporarily or permanently flooded restiolands, sedgelands & rush-beds as well as macrophytic vegetation embedded in permanent water bodies. . Important species include Senecio halimnifolius, Paspalum vaginatum, Pennisetum macrourum, Triglochin bulbosa, Bolboschoenus maritimus and Juncus krausii.

Geology, soil & hydrology: substrate built of fine sandy, silty or clayey soils over young Quaternary sediments, largely derived from weathering Cape Supergroup shales & granites & Table Mountain sandstones. In places, especially on shales, these wetlands can acquire a brackish character.

Endemic: Low shrubs: Passerina paludosa; water bodies: Aquatic herbs: Aponogeton angustifolius, A. distachyos, Cotula myriophylloides.

Conservation: Critically endangered; Target 24%, some 14% conserved in Cape Peninsula & Agulhas National Parks, Rondevlei, Zandvlei etc.

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Historical vegetation cover within the boundaries of Cape Town.

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