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UCT student rediscovers Cape plant species thought to be extinct

A University of Cape Town (UCT) Botany PhD candidate is in the news after rediscovering a Cape plant species last seen in 1804.

The Psoralea cataracta - a type of sweet pea with small white and lilac flowers - was declared extinct on the Red Data List of South African plants in 2008.

RELATED: Why is the Cape Floral Kingdom in decline and why does it matter?

Brian du Preez tells CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies that his discovery in the Winterhoek mountains near Tulbagh happened by chance.

I was busy looking for species for my PhD and I happened to stumble across the plant while looking. It was growing near a jeep track I was walking on.

Brian du Preez, Botany PhD candidate - UCT

It was a feeling of utter joy because we had gone looking previously for the plant in other areas near Tulbagh - I knew which characteristics to look for.

Brian du Preez, Botany PhD candidate - UCT

Du Preez is passionate about getting the broader public to take an active interest in the glories of the unique Cape Floral Region.

If you don't want to study the plants, just go out into the mountains and enjoy what we have. Take photos, use field guides to help identify the plants yourself or post photos and have plant experts identify them.

Brian du Preez, Botany PhD candidate - UCT

He also encourages young people with a scientific interest to study the biological sciences, saying there is a large scope for specialists in the field.

Listen to the conversation here:

Image credit: Brian du Preez Facebook


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : UCT student rediscovers Cape plant species thought to be extinct


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