The heavy winds that had become a regular occurrence in the last 3 months of 2019 played havoc with some of the Keurbooms in our area. Virgilia divaricata & Virgilia oroboides. Keurbooms are pioneer trees – they are one of the first of the endemic trees in the Garden Route to pop up and they grow very quickly – providing initial canopies of shade to many of the not-as-fast growers and generally have a life span of around 15 years.
The flowers of both species are rich in nectar and therefor attract many insects and birds – loeries, sunbirds, carpenter bees, honey bees and ants. They also provide nesting homes for birds like doves and white-eyes. Vervet monkeys chew the leaves and eat the seeds. On the forest floor, the large ghost moth, Leto venus, is known to lay its eggs at the foot of the tree so that the hatching caterpillars can bore into the wood. The blue butterfly (Lampides boeticus) breeds on Keurboom trees.
Two Keurbooms on one of the small holdings in Wilderness Heights fell over as a result of the heavy winds in September and October 2019. PTP used this as an opportunity to harvest the seeds of these fallen trees for our future tree planting needs. We also used this as an opportunity to provide employment for some of our young – where they spent the day removing the seeds from their pods, counting them out and packaging them in recycled containers for germination at our mini satellite nurseries.