A guide to flora and fauna in South Africa

A guide to flora and fauna in South Africa?

South Africa is considered one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. From the southernmost tip of the continent found in the Cape to the Drakensberg mountain range bordering the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, the country hosts an extensive variety of wildlife and even plant species. Flora and fauna are essential elements in any natural environment. As much as flora and fauna are heavily dependent on each other to exist, both are also paramount for human kind to survive and flourish.

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What is the flora in South Africa?

The origin of the term flora is widely known to have stemmed from Latin. In Latin, flora means the goddess of the flower but the term floral is another origin of the word flora. In summary, flora is understood to encompass all things relating to flowers. More specifically, flora refers to all native plant species found in a specific geographical area at a particular time. Flora encompasses a very large category of plant life in a particular region, there are a multitude of subcategories within flora that help to understand plant species in different regions. This can include but is not limited to Garden Flora, Weed Flora, Fossil Flora and so on. South Africa is one of the most biodiverse flora regions as it hosts at least 10% of all plants species found on Earth. In South Africa and, indeed, everywhere in the world, we rely on flora to provide us with clean oxygen. Historically, humans have also relied on flora to provide food, medicine and sometimes even shelter.

What is the fauna in South Africa?

The origin of the term fauna is substantially more difficult to identify. It has been traced back to three possible sources: Fauna stemming from the Roman goddess of fertility and earth or Faunus, another Roman God. Simultaneously, Fauns which were best known to be the spirits of the forest. Nevertheless, fauna, as we understand it, refers to the collective animal species found in a particular region at a particular time. South Africa is considered a megadiverse country meaning that it houses some of the largest indices of biodiversity, including a large number of endemic species. Just as flora is essential for harmony within our ecosystem, fauna in South Africa plays a substantial role in harmony as well. Fauna liberates the carbon dioxide that is consumed by flora. Moreover, animal droppings are a source of fertiliser for food and minerals.

How to introduce flora & fauna in South Africa? 

We have only begun to scratch the surface of the flora and fauna species that exist in South Africa; it can be very overwhelming in such a biodiverse country to know what plant species to put where. Thankfully, there is a substantial amount of information being published by expert authors as well as a variety of passionate individuals willing to lend a helping hand. This is the best place to start! Speak to the professionals, do your research and search for the indigenous nurseries near you.

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