The Web of Life (22-3-26) Cape Sumach

 Cape Sumach

The Cape region of South Africa is a hotspot of plant biodiversity: with over 9,000 plant species, nearly 70% of which are endemic, within an area of only 90,000 km2. In contrast, Germany, which is 4 times the size, has 1/3rd the number of native plant species.

Among the South Africa plethora is Cape sumach, a woody hemiparasitic plant in the Sandalwood family. Cape sumach is tough and adaptable: able to withstand heat, frost, and winds. It grows fast and can survive in sandy soils, even coastal dunes.

Cape sumach is prone to supplement its diet via haustoria that tap into the roots of nearby plants and suck their sap. Although it can make it on its own, Cape sumach grows best with a parasitic boost, especially in dry conditions or poor soil.