Location: Castle Beacon

Image 1

Photo: Bart Wursten
Castle Beacon seen from Lion Rock

Image 2

Photo: Bart Wursten
Ericoid scrub

Image 3

Photo: Bart Wursten
View from Castle Beacon onto Bunga Views and Burma Valley

General Information

Quarter degree square: 1932B1

Country: Zimbabwe

Habitat: Montane evergreen forest, ericoid scrub and shallow soil vegetation on granite rock.

Altitude range: c. 1700 - 1911 m

Annual rainfall: c. 1800 - 2000 mm

Location (short):

Location (detailed):


Castle Beacon, at 1911 m, is the highest point of the Vumba mountains. Its old Shona name, Tyauru, is rarely used these days. The slopes leading towards the impressive granite dome, contain good examples of montane evergreen forest. The trees and boulders in the forest receive regular mists and rain throughout the year and the flora is rich in epiphytic and lithophytic ferns and flowering plants. Some unusual species are common in these forests, such as Cryptostephanus vansonii (Amaryllidaceae) and Stolzia repens var. obtusa (Orchidaceae), a tiny orchid, which is otherwise only known from Mt Mulanje in Malawi. Another rare and endemic orchid, Aeranthes africana, was also found in this habitat but it has unfortunately been wiped out by unscrupulous collectors.

Above 1800 m the forest is replaced by dense areas of ericoid scrub, dominated by Erica hexandra (Ericaceae). Other shrubs commonly found are Protea caffra subsp. gazensis and Faurea rochetiana (Proteaceae), Aloe arborescens (Aloaceae) and Strelitzia caudata (Strelitziaceae).

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Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Location details: Castle Beacon.
https://www.malawiflora.com/speciesdata/location-display.php?location_id=50, retrieved 30 May 2024

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