The Keurboom tree is known as a pioneer species, critical to the regeneration of the indigenous Forest that this area is known for. When land is damaged, fynbos quickly covers the bare earth. Soon little Keurboom seedlings sprout, and eventually dominate an area. Through the protection that the Keurbooms offers, the more fragile forest seedlings grow strength and eventually regenerate forest species to one day provide canopy cover for wildlife and a whole precious ecosystem.
The Keurbooms tree strikes one as a beautiful tree with its pinnate leaves and mauve colored petals. This medium sized tree is very fast growing but has a short life span. What makes its short life well lived, apart from its vital role as precursor to forest, is the crucial role it plays in helping one of the most beautiful insects to complete its life cycle.
Just before dying, the female Keurbooms (Leto Venus) lays her eggs by the ground just above the roots of the Keurbooms tree. When the eggs mature into larva they crawl up the tree and drill a tunnel into the wood. It is in this tunnel that the abdominal segments of the larva mature into adult pupa. As soon as this happens the adult pupa makes its ways out of the tunnel. On reaching the tunnels opening, the moth spreads its beautiful wings and flies away.
The Garden Route is where the Keurbooms moth and tree are endemic. It is here in a small village called The Crags where the collected wings of this stunning moth led to community development through the building of a church that stands out as a cornerstone of the community. The Wild Ways tour at Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre is one of the day tours offered in Plettenberg Bay that presents the opportunity to see this handsome ghost moth and the Keurbooms tree which supports the ecosystem food chain. The tour is centred on highlighting
fascinating facts on fynbos plants and their crucial role culturally, medicinally and environmentally and how nature interlinks to keep ecosystems in balance.