Tongoland-Pondoland (South East African) Swamp Forest

Occupying the river valleys and wetland areas, particularly at the confluences of the Msikaba and Mtentu rivers, these forests are dominated by Strelitzia nicolai, Syzigium cordatum and the endemic Cryptocarya wyliei (Lauraceae), and can reach heights of 10 m or so. Dominant shrubs, which grow from 2-3 m, are Myrica serrata, Phyllica paniculata and Prionium serratum, while common lianas include Acacia ataxacantha, Dalbergia multijuga and Monanthotaxis caffra. The herb layer ranges from 30 cm to 1 m in height and commonly includes Cyperus prolifer, Ischaemum fasciculatum, Juncus iomatophyllus and Lobelia coronopifolia. Among the many endemic taxa are Alberta magna (family?), Centella graminifolia (Mackinlayaceae), Helichrysum populifolium (Asteraceae), Phylica natalensis (Rhamnaceae), Plectranthus saccatus (Lamiaceae), Podolyria velutina (family?), Psoralea abbottii (Fabaceae) and Tarconanthus trilobus var. trilobus (family?).

Zambezian Swamp and Riparian Forest

In the wetter parts of the BioProvince swamp forest occurs in areas where water movement is sluggish. The most abundant trees here are fairly widespread species such as Mitragyna stipulosa, Syzygium owariense, Uapaca guineesis and Xylopia rubescens, which is also true for many of the undergrowth species like Aporrhiza nitida, Gacinia smeathmannii, Gardenia imperialis, and shrub layer species such as Craterispermum laurinum, Dracaena camerooniana and Psychotria (Cephaelis) peduncularis. Some of the endemic plants include trees such as Erythrococe welwitschiana and Uapaca lissopyrena (Euphorbiaceae), shrubs such as Alchornea yambuyaens and Phyllanthus retinervis (Euphorbiaceae), Dissotis romiana (Melostomataceae) and Stapfiella zambesiense (Turneraceae), climbers such as Ipomoea pharbitiformis (Convolvulaceae), and ground layer herbs like Bothriocline ripensis (Asteraceae), Buchnera speciosa (Scrophulariaceae), and the orchids Habenaria orthocentron and Liparis molendinacea (Orchidaceae). The riparian forests often include Adina (Broenadia) microcephala, Khaga nyasica and Newtonia buchananii as the main tree species, while less frequent trees include the endemic Monopetalanthus trapnellii and Tessmannia burttii (Fabaceae).

Zambezian Dambo Grassland

At altitudes above about 1200m where drainage is sluggish up to 20% of plateau surfaces are covered in a dense grass mats known as dambos. The soils are usually acidic, and much of it is subject to seasonal flooding, but in the dry season it may dry out and become very compact. Their floristic composition shows considerable variation, but is by and large, composed of fine leaved grasses, together with a number of Cyperaceae and Xyridaceae. The most characteristic grass is Loudetia simplex, while other common grass species include Andropogon schirenss, Hyparrhenia bracteata, Miscanthus teretifolius, Monocymbium ceresiiforme, Themeda triandra and Trachypogon spicatus. Endemic grasses found here include Brachiaria clavipila, Digitaria bidactyla, D. complanata, D. hyalina, D. phaeotricha, many Eragrostis species such as E. acamptoclada, E. anacrantha, E. astreptoclada, E. aurorae, E. caniflora, E. castellaneana, E. dentifera, E. friesii, E. mariae, E. milnei, E. oligostachya and E. saresberiensis, Lophacme parva and Sporobolus fibrosus (Poaceae).    In the wetter areas there can be a great variety of Cyperaceae including Ascolepis anthemiflora, Bulbostylis cinnamomea, Cyperus esculentus, Fuirena pubescens, Kyllinga erecta, Mariscus deciduus, Pycreus aethiops, Scirpus microcephalus and Scleria bulbifera. Among the endemic forbs found here are a wide variety of orchids such as Centrostigma clavatum and C. papillosum, and species of Brachycorythis, Disa, Habenaria, Platycoryne and Satyrium, while endemics from other plant families include Acalypha clutioides (Euphorbiaceae), Aeschynomene mediocris (Fabaceae), Ageratinastrum palustre (Asteraceae), Anagallis elegantula (Primulaceae), Buchnera ciliolata (Scrophulariaceae), Dierama parviflorum (Iridaceae), Dissotis gilgiana (Melostomataceae), Eugenia malagensis (Myrtaceae), Hydrolea brevistyla (Hydrophyllaceae), Hypoxis nyasica (Hypoxidaceae), Ipomoea fanshawei (Convolvulaceae), Kniphofia reynoldsii (Asphodelaceae), Mechowia redactifolia (Amaranthaceae), Nesaea spathulata (Lythraceae), Sebaea gracilis (Gentianaceae) and Spermacoce annua (Rubiaceae).

Zambezian Flood Plain Grassland

This zone includes extensive flood plain grasslands with some of the best examples in the Malagarasi and Rukwa valleys in Tanzania, the upper Zambezi, Kafue, and Chambeshi valleys and the Mweru Wantipa and Bangweulu basins in Zambia, and the Lake Chilwa basin in Malawi. The principal grass species vary according to the degree of wetness, with species such as Acroceros macrum, Echinochloa pyramidalis, Leersia hexandra, Oryza longistaminata, Panicum repens, Paspalum scrobiculatum, Sacciolepisis africana and Vossia cuspidata in the wetter areas, and Andropogon brazzae, Entolasia imbricata, Loudetia simplex, Monocymbium ceresiiforme, Setaria sphacelata and Tremeda triandra in the better drained areas. Among the endemic species found in these grasslands are the grasses Digitaria rukwae, Microchloa annua and Tristachya lualabaensis (Poaceae), several herbaceous species of the Asteraceae including Ethulia paucifructa, Hirpicium angustifolium, and Vernonia kirkii, the annual herbs Nesaea dinteri (Lythraceae) and Phyllanthus zambicus (Euphorbiaceae) and the subshrub Kotschya longiloba (Fabaceae).

South Moroccan Wetlands of the Oukaimeden Plateau

The Oukaimeden Plateau is approximately 75 km south of Marrakech in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains. Here at altitudes ranging from about 2500-3000 m are a series of unique, grass-dominated wetlands supporting many endemic species. They can be broadly divided into highly wet grasslands and pozzine, wet grasslands, moderately wet grasslands and moderately dry grasslands. Pozzine are damp alpine and sub alpine meadows usually established on peat bogs and often have a brilliant green color. The name was probably first used to describe the excellent examples of this vegetation type found on Corsica. In the Atlas Mountains these diverse communities support an estimated 198 species divided into 122 genera and 38 families. However, it is habitats at the wet end of the spectrum that have the greatest floristic diversity with about 60% of the total species richness and a level of endemism that exceeds 25%. The grasses found in these wet communities include Anthoxanthum odoratum, Arrhenatherum elatius var bulbosum, Avenula bromoides, Brizia media, Bromus hordeaceus, B. squarrosus, B. tectorum, Dactylis glomeratum ssp. hispanica, Deschampsia caespitosa, Festuca mairei, Festuca rubra var. yvesiana, Haynaldia ordacea, Holcus lanatus, Koeleria crassipes, Lolium multiflorum, Nardus strictus, Phleum pratense, Poa bulbosa var. vivipara, P. pratensis, P. trivialis, Trisetum flavescens and the Moroccan endemics Agrostis atlantica, Festuca atlantica ssp. oxyphylla, Festuca marrocana ssp. pozzicola, Poa alpina ssp. atlantica and Vulpia geniculata ssp. pauana (Poaceae). Moroccan endemic plant taxa found here include Bunium alpinum ssp. atlanticum, Eryngium variifolium, Heracleum sphondylium var. embergeri (Apiaceae), Bellis caerulescens, Cirsium chrysacanthum, Lactuca atlanticus, Tolpis barbata ssp. liouvillei (Asteraceae), Myosotis atlantica (Boraginaceae), Lepidium hirtum ssp. atlanticum (Brassicaceae), Sedum surculosus (Crassulaceae), Gentiana atlantica (Gentianaceae), Mentha suaveolens ssp. timija, Nepeta stachyoides, Stachys arenaria ssp, divaricatidens, Thymus atlanticus (Lamiaceae), Trifolium humile (Fabaceae), Rumex atlanticus (Polygonaceae), Ranunculus dyris (Ranunculaceae), Alchemilla atlantica (Rosaceae), Linaria multicaulis ssp. gigantea (Scrophulariaceae), Juncus bufonius ssp. mogadorensis (Juncaceae). The dryer grasslands are largely dominated by Arrhenatherum elatius ssp. bulbosum and Festuca mairei, and the few endemic taxa found here include Lactuca virosa ssp. cornigera (Asteraceae), Cynoglossum watieri (Boraginaceae) and Silene heterodonta (Caryophyllaceae).


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