SECOND PLANTING OF LITHOPS SCHWANTESII SUBSP. GEBSERI AT ESTORFFDANK
On 14 April 2018 the members of the LRCF set out to visit the study and reintroduction site of Lithops schwantesii subsp. gebseri on the farm Estorffdank with the aim of monitoring the survival of the young, two-year old plants that were reintroduced into their former habitat a year earlier (see Reintroduction of Lithops schwantesii subsp. gebseri into its natural habitat in Namibia). Of the 221 plants reintroduced in April 2017, 21 (9.55%) survived and were found to be in very good condition despite well below average rainfall at the reintroduction site (Fig 4 & 5). This figure is just under the 10-20 % survival rate expected when planting cultivated Lithops plants into natural habitats. Most of the reintroduced young plants had been fatally preyed upon by mice and large insects.
A batch of 208 three-year old plants were grown in the Lekkerbly Nursery & Creché at the Cole Lithoparium in individual plants trays (Fig 6) and were lifted out of the trays just before being transported to the reintroduction site (Fig 7). The plants were again planted around the marked points at the reintroduction site. The harsh sun had discoloured some of the plastic markers from red to white (Fig 8).
Together with the 21 surviving plants from the 2017 planting, the reintroduction site now has 229 three-year old plants which will be monitored over the next year until the next batch, presently cultured in the Cole Lithoparium, will be ready for reintroduction, probably in 2019.
Fig 4. A three-year old Lithops schwantesii subsp. gebseri plant at the reintroduction site one year after being transplanted. Note the broken soil crust as this plant pushed upwards after rain.
Fig 5. A healthy and strong looking three-year old Lithops schwantesii subsp. gebseri plant at the reintroduction site one year after being transplanted
Fig 6. Three-year old Lithops schwantesii subsp. gebseri plants in individual plant trays as cultured in the Lekkerbly Nursery & Creché.
Fig 7 A batch of 208 Lithops schwantesii subsp. gebseri plants ready for planting in the field.
Fig 8 A sun-bleached marker at the reintroduction site.