Original Research

Flowering phenology in the arid winter rainfall region of southern Africa

M. Struck
Bothalia | Vol 24, No 1 | a754 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v24i1.754 | © 1994 M. Struck | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 1994 | Published: 10 October 1994

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M. Struck, Botany Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Abstract

The impact of physical factors on the flowering phenology of a succulent karroid community in the winter rainfall region of the northwestern Cape, South Africa, based upon a three year study on permanent plots, is examined, (in the permanent plots, flowering of the shrubby species extended over a period of 4 to 4'/i> months each year, while blooming ot the therophytes peaked m the first half of the flowering season. Species composition and numbers of individuals in the therophytes and geophytes offering flowers varied greatly according to the pattern and amount of seasonal precipitation. Despite these variations a consistent flowering sequence between the years was observed. Possible relations between the flowering phenology and the climatic variables are discussed in detail. The present data suggest that the onset of flowering is determined indirectly by the first drop in temperature in autumn, indicating the beginning of the rainy season and presumably the start of the growing period, and/or by the increase of temperatures in the beginning of spring. The pattern and amount of rainfall within a given season mainly influenced the duration of anthesis and the number of flowers produced.


Keywords

climatic variables; flowering sequence; Namaqualand; phenology; precipitation; seasonality. Succulent Karoo; temperature; timing; vigour of blooming

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