This years grade 10 research project at Mary Waters was to document all the plant species growing in the school grounds. The class was divided into groups of 4 and each group designed and carried out the research project. Having already met with Inkcubeko Nendalo facilitators earlier this year the grade 10's asked Tony Dold and Mluleki Nkosi for help. Plant presses were borrowed from the Selmar Schonland Herbarium to press and dry specimens that were identified by Tony Dold.
Mluleki Nkosi and Luyiso Gunguluza from Mary Waters examining plant specimens collected in the school grounds
As many as 60 plants were found growing in the school grounds. A literature survey showed that 11 of these plants have recorded medicinal uses and 8 are recorded as edible.
However the learners were surprised to find that 19 of the plants are alien and 10 of these are weeds that according to the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 1983 (Act 43 Of 1983) must be contolled. Loyiso Gunguluza, from class 10E, assured us that he would point this out to his teacher in his research report.
Showing that plants are closely linked to Xhosa culture and language Mluleki Nkosi explained to the learners that one of the plants collected in the school grounds was inkanga (African ragwort, Senecio pterophorus) that gives its name to eyenkanga, (November) which is the time when this shrub is flowering.
Inkanga (African ragwort) flowering in November.