Dwindling wild African potato finds a new home on local eco-estate


Post by: Eastlands Estate, 08 Mar 2016

It might not look like much to some, but the African potato (Hypoxis hemerocallidae) is among the most important and widely used traditional medicinal plants in South Africa. Unfortunately, over-harvesting is leading to quickly diminishing wild populations, and finding large crops of this once abundant grassland tuber is now quite rare.

So you can imagine the surprise of local developers, Eastland Properties, when they discovered a rather large crop of the indigenous plant growing on the site they planned to develop as part of the new eco-sensitive Eastlands Mature Lifestyle Estate in Benoni.

More than 1000 plants, to be specific, were uncovered in an overgrown corner of the site. Realising the importance of the plant, the developers immediately set to work relocating the bulbs.

“It was quite a job, transplanting all 1000 plants!” says Marius van Zyl, operations director of Eastlands Mature Lifestyle Estate. “But we did it, and are proud to have played a small role in helping to preserve a true indigenous gem, right here in Benoni.”

The relocated African potato plants now form part of the extensive green areas that have been incorporated into the landscape of the new eco-estate.

The estate boasts expansive parklands planted with indigenous trees, shrubs and plants that attract birds, bees and other beneficial insects as well as large ponds with substantial indigenous plantings that are fast becoming a haven for many local bird species.

This environmentally friendly approach extends to the actual housing units on the estate. These low-impact ‘green’ units feature extensive use of renewable, natural materials; passive climatic lighting and ventilation designs; energy-saving fittings and a range of optional extras that ultimately allow residents to live completely off the Eskom grid.

The Eastlands Mature Lifestyle Estate is a country-style estate comprising 239 free-standing two to four bedroom homes, 80 one-bedroom garden apartments and 32 two-bedroom garden apartments, all set in park-like grounds and with available vegetable allotments.

It caters specifically for active over 50s through its comprehensive wellness and healthcare facilities, which include indoor and outdoor pools, a gym and health studio, six dedicated assisted living suites, and specialised healthcare facilities at its 15-bed frail care centre, which provides 24-hour frail care.

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