Olienhout, geelhout, stinkhout en hardepeer – Stellenbosch se inheemse woude

Olienhout, geelhout, stinkhout en hardepeer – Stellenbosch se inheemse woude

Inheemse bome word gewoonlik met die Knysna omgewing assosieer, maar daar was ook heelwat geelhout en ander bome in Stellenbosch. Vandag sien ons voorbeelde hiervan in die bergklowe van Jonkershoek – veral in Swartboskloof en Langrivierkloof – waar daar nog groepe inheemse bome groei. Gelukkig was Assegaaibos en die Jonkershoekvallei redelik ontoeganklik vir die setlaars – dit was beskou as die punt waar die ‘landelike omgewing’ in die ‘wildernis’ verander. In die 17de eeu was Jonkershoek ‘n dig bewoude vallei, skryf Harris en Pistorius:

img_1029“… we imagine a densely planted valley bottom, virtually a forest of large trees like Yellowwood, spreading along the watermeadows and the shifting course of the Eerste Rivier, mixed with a rampant growth of lesser trees and shrubs that also reached up the tributary streams.”

Behalwe vir die mees bekende inheemse bome (soos die hardepeer, assegaaihout, geelhout, rooi-els, wit-els, wilde-amadel, olienhout , notsung, keurboom en boekenhout), is daar meer as 1100 ander boomsoorte in ons area (lees hier oor ons fynboserfenis).

Baie van die oorspronklike woude is deur veldbrande verniel en die koms van permanente settlaars het uiteraard sy tol geëeis op die omgewing. Daar word spekuleer dat die nomadiese boere, die khoi, dele van die veld hier skoon gemaak het om weiding vir hul diere te voorsien. Op plekke is die digte fynbos weggebrand sodat jong, sagter plante kon opkom vir die diere. Pistorius en Harris reken dat die bospaadjies en en weivelde wat deur die Khoi geskep is, jare later gesien is as goeie plekke vir die vroeë setlaars om te bou.

Die Hollandse settlaars was tot ‘n groter mate afhanklik van hout. Hul het enigiets gebruik vir huishoudelike doeleindes: Lepelhout is gebruik vir kombuisgereedskap (daarvandaan die naam) en die sterk hout van die olien gebruik vir bylstele en om egtande van te maak. Geelhout was ‘n gesogte hout vir meubels, deure, vloere en plafonne, en mens kan pragtige voorbeelde daarvan sien in die dorpsmuseum. Vir die maak van leerprodukte is die bas van bome gebruik om die velle te looi.

Die Hollanders het ook hout gebruik om waens en karre van die maak – assegaaihout is vir die wielspeke gebruik, rooi-els, boekenhout of wildesering vir die vellings en waboom vir die remskoene.

Die uitkap van inheemse woude het ‘n groot bedreiging ingehou vir die jong nedersetting. Toe H.A. Van Reede, die destydse hoëkomissaris van  Drakenstein, besoek aflê op Stellenbosch was hy baie bekommerd oor die volhoubaarheid en beskikbaarheid van hout – dit was slegs 6 jaar na die dorpie se stigting. Bewaring is streng begin toepas en oewerinwoners is verbied om bome buite hul erfgrense af te kap. Dit het vroeg noodsaaklik geword om alle uitgekapte bome te vervang met jong eikebome of ander houtgewasse.

Geelhoutmeubels by die dorpsmuseum
Geelhoutmeubels by die dorpsmuseum

Van Reede het aanbeveel dat daar op elke akker “soowel inlands als vaderlands houwt” gekweek moet word. Uitheemse bome, of ‘vaderlandshout’ is waarskynlik as ‘n skadelose, fuksionele (en waarskynlik sentimentele) hulpbron gesien. Beide Simon en Willem Adriaan Van der Stel was “geesdriftige tuinbouers” en het die aanplant van veral eikebome aangemoedig.

In 1712 is daar besluit om jong eikeboompies uit Rondebosch te laat kom om as ‘sieraad’ vir Stellenbosch se strate te dien. Geen van die oorspronklike Eikebome bestaan meer nie, maar van die oudstes dateer uit 1760. Die Eikebome in beide Dorpstraat en Die Laan is tot nasionale gedenkwaardigheid verklaar.

Uitheemse bome het al meer algemeen begin raak. Omdat hout so skaars geraak het en meer ruimte nodig was vir graangewasse (in die 1840’s) het heelwat settlaars groener weivelde gaan soek in die Overberg en Swartland areas. In hierdie tyd is heelwat eikebome en bloekombome in Stellenbosch geplant, en het dit algemeen geraak om bome soos denne, hakea, populiere, akasia en wilgerboom in die dorp te sien. Die instelling van bosbou in die middel van die 1900’s het die Jonkershoekvallei meer toeganklik gemaak, maar het ook die landskap heelwat verander. ‘n Strook bosbougrond, meestal denne, verskyn nou tussen die landbougrond (meestal wingerd) en die reservaat.

In die dorp is daar klein groepe inheemse bome (soos die geelhoutbome op die hoek van Mancadan en Rowan straat)- as jy een sien gaan neem ‘n foto en deel dit op www.ispotnature.org.

————-lééf Stellenbosch———-

 

Artikel: Y Coetsee 2016
Bronne: Harris & Pistorius survey Jonkershoek
Stellenbosch Drie Eeue (1979)
Lys van Stellenbosch se gedenkwaardighede (wikipedia)
Eikebome in gevaar (Stellenbosch erfenisstigting)
‘n Miljoen bome vir Stellenbosch?

 


English:

Indigenous trees are usually associated with Knysna and its surrounds, but there were many olienhout, stinkhout, hardepeer and assegaaihout in Stellenbosch in the past. Today we see examples of this in the mountain kloofs of Jonkershoek – especially in Swarboskloof and Langrivierkloof. Luckily Assegaaibos and the Jonkershoek valley had been quite inaccessible to the settlers – it was viewed as the place where the rural landscape became the ‘wilderness’. Harris and Pistorius writes that in the 17th century Jonkershoek had much more trees,

“… we imagine a densely planted valley bottom, virtually a forest of large trees like Yellowwood, spreading along the watermeadows and the shifting course of the Eerste Rivier, mixed with a rampant growth of lesser trees and shrubs that also reached up the tributary streams.”

Apart from the more well-known trees (like the hardepeer, assegaaihout, geelhout, rooi-els, wit-els, wilde-amadel, olienhout , notsung, keurboom and boekenhout), there are more than 1100 known tree species in the Stellenbosch area.

Much of the original forests were destroyed by veld fires, but of course the settlement of permanent residents also took its toll on the environment. It is speculated that the nomadic farmers, the khoi, cleared parts of the veld at Jonkershoek for grazing. Patches of thick fynbos were burned down so that new, softer shoots could grow there. In their research, Harris and Pistorius reckons that the clearings made by the Khoi were utilised years later for the Dutch settlers’ homes.

The Dutch settlers were dependent on indigenous wood. As with fynbos they used any available plantmaterial for household use. ‘Lepelhout’ was used for kitchen utensils (hence the name), and the strong wood of the Olien tree used for axe handles and the plow share. Yellowwood was an esteemed wood for making furniture, floors and ceilings, and beautiful examples thereof can be seen in the town museum. Even the making of leather products required the use of wood, using the bark of trees for tanning.

Apart from in the home, the Dutch also used wood to make wagons and carriagesassegaai wood was used for the spokes, rooi-els, boekenhout or wildesering for the rims and waboom for the brake pads.

The continuous destruction of indigenous wood threatened the small settlement. On a visit to Stellenbosch only 6 years after the town’s establishment, H.A. Van Reede, high commissioner of Drakenstein, became very worried about the sustainability of wood. Measures to protect the trees were applied strictly and inhabitants along the river banks prohibited to chop down trees outside of their property borders. Soon it became necessary to replace every felled tree with a young oak or other tree.

Van Reede recommended that a number of ‘indigenous trees as well as trees from the homeland‘ should be planted on each acre. Today we realize the threat of alien trees, but in the past they were probably seen as a harmless, functional (and probably sentimental) resource. Both Simon and Willem Adriaan van der Stel were ‘passionate horticulturists’ and encouraged the planting of especially oaks.

In 1712 it was decided to bring young oak trees from Rondebosch to act as ‘ornament’ for Stellenbosch. None of the original Van der Stel oaks still exist, but some in town date back to 1760. The oaks in both Dorp Street and Die Laan have been declared national heritages.

In the 1840’s – because wood became scarce and land was needed for cultivating grains – many settlers moved to the Overberg and Swartland areas in search of greener pastures. In this time many oaks and blue gums were planted in Stellenbosch. Alien trees such as the Pine, hakea, poplar, acasia and willow were probably seen more frequently. The introduction of forestry at Jonkershoek made the beautiful area more accessible, but also changed the landscape dramatically. A strip of trees, mostly pine, now appears between the farmland (mostly vineyards) and the protected nature reserve.

In town there are some gems left of the indigenous trees. If you come across one, take a picture and share it on www.ispotnature.org. There are some beautiful yellowwoods on the corner of Rowan and Mancadan street.

————-live Stellenbosch———-

 

Article: Y Coetsee 2016
Sources: Harris & Pistorius survey Jonkershoek
Stellenbosch Drie Eeue (1979)
Lys van Stellenbosch se gedenkwaardighede (wikipedia)
Eikebome in gevaar (Stellenbosch erfenisstigting)
‘n Miljoen bome vir Stellenbosch?

2 thoughts on “Olienhout, geelhout, stinkhout en hardepeer – Stellenbosch se inheemse woude

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  2. Pingback: Het Stellenbosch al ooit afgebrand?

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