Today’s post is focused on the

The benefits of including endemic species in your garden.

The infamous Boabab Tree

When you first hear the terms “indigenous” and “endemic” they might sound similar, but there is a fair difference. Indigenous species are native to a region but not exclusively found in that region, for example the Adansonia digitata (Baobab) is found naturally occurring in South Africa, as well as several other southern African regions. This means it is indigenous to South Africa as well as Zimbabwe, Zambia and numerous other areas.

Euphorbia barnadii one of many endemic South African Species

An endemic species is found only in a very specific area and veld type, for example the Euphorbia barnadii is only found naturally occurring in the norite hills of the Bewaarskloof nature reserve and Leolo Valley in Limpopo. This species is found nowhere else, making it endemic to this area.

Including both endemic and indigenous species in your garden has great benefits for the sustainability and biodiversity of your landscape. Endemic species have adapted optimally to their environment, meaning that in a water scarce area they will be drought hardy and tolerate minimal watering, preserving resources. These flora species also provide habitats and food sources for endemic fauna species such as the birds, butterflies and bees, encouraging the local wildlife into your garden. These two aspects enhance the sustainability and longevity of your landscape.

A water wise garden that utilizes endemic and indegenous plants

Using indigenous flora will promote biodiversity by creating a habitat for different species and along with them new genetic variances to the area, meaning your garden is less vulnerable to disease. It is important when planting indigenous to remember that the species still need to be suitable to their new environment. For example, the Zantedeschia aethiopica (Arum-lily) which is naturally found in marshlands and mostly wet, boggy areas of South Africa would, if planted in the dry Cape Fynbos region, require excessive amounts of external watering which is unsustainable in the water scarce environment. An endemic and indigenous garden is a recipe for a sustainable and biodiverse landscape.

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