I found this article the other day… almost a year on from the World Cup. Cool name, don’t you think?
A new species from the iris family found near Worcester, is to be named Moraea vuvuzela by SANBI botanist Dr John Manning to commemorate South Africa’s hosting of the first Soccer World Cup on the African continent.
This pretty little bulb is currently known from just two localities between Rawsonville and Villiersdorp in the heart of the Cape Floral Region. Both known populations are threatened by agriculture and development, especially the enlargement of the Brandvlei Dam, and probably the species has disappeared already from parts of its range through the flooding of the Theewaterskloof Dam.
The epithet vuvuzela derives from the raucous air horn, approximately one metre in length, that commonly is blown by fans at soccer matches in South Africa. It commemorates the country’s hosting of the first Soccer World Cup on the African continent in June 2010. The colourful, flared flowers and their massed, synchronous appearance are appropriate associations with the name.
Moraea vuvuzela is severely threatened by agriculture, and this dedication is linked to a conservation programme initiated by the non-profit association BIOPAT-Patrons for Biodiversity, and sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarnbeit (GTZ), the German Technical Development Cooperation Agency, which supported the South African Government in the preparations of the FIFA World Cup 2010 on behalf of the German Government.
Says Dr Manning, “The species was brought to our attention by Rawsonville resident and conservationist Anso le Roux, who encountered scattered flowering plants of an unknown Moraea in unburned veld near Rawsonville in August 2006. But it was only after a controlled burn in February 2009 that the species appeared in flower in any number. In July of that year she alerted us to the appearance of hundreds of flowering individuals and we were then able to gather material for description and illustration. Shortly thereafter, conservationist Rupert Koopman and members of the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) located a second flowering population of the species near Villiersdorp. “Subsequently, we have associated the species with at least two earlier, unnamed collections from Franschoek Forest Reserve gathered in 1937 and 1940.”