I’m hoping that this story will have a happy update, because this statistic dates from 2010. But according to Kew, there were only nine Gladiolus aureus plants left in the wild. Nine.
They are hanging on for dear life in the wind-blown part of Cape Town’s south peninsula, near where I live.
Luckily these beauties are being cultivated widely in botanical gardens and by amateur enthusiasts.
That they are there at all is thanks to an enterprising botanist, and a hospital blood bank.
You’ll find some of the story here http://www.kew.org/discover/news/plant-story-gladiolus-aureus-verge-extinction
And more in The Seed Thief. Although the truth of the story is way stranger than my ficitonalised telling of it!
Wonderful news: the WWF just announced that the size of the original Cape Floristic Region Protected Areas (CFRPA) World Heritage Site has been doubled!
Read all about it here:
Then get thee to Cape Town and go for a walk in the flowers.
The book is printed but not yet on the shelves, so here’s a musical preview while you wait: a playlist of songs that are either in The Seed Thief, or helped inspire the story.
If you’re into Brazilian music, you’ll find something to love here. (It’s not all Brazilian, but most of it is, since you can never have too much of that.) If you’re discovering these songs for the first time, I hope they’ll kick off a journey of new musical exploration.
So far we’ve loaded Rdio, Spotify and Simfy versions (for the South African audiences). Apple Music playlist coming soon…
“Presenting Jacqui L’Ange’s Striking and Richly Imagined Debut Novel, The Seed Thief”