Birth of the Reserve

In 1941 crown grant land was given to the Port Elizabeth divisional council on certain term so in 1948 an application was made to the provincial secretary to proclaim the outspan as wild flower nature reserve and bird sanctuary which portion no 77 was proclaimed in 1951

In 1951 the van Stadens outspan was proclaimed as a wild flower reserve by the divisional council, initiated by the wild flower society.Xhosa name for it “eBlomini”

In 1957 lots of Kew garden members gathered in the van Stadens wild flower reserve to put a plaque on a natural rock to commemorate George Urton as he had been the drive behind it to preserve our flora by having the van Stadens outspan declared a wild flower reserve.

Urton, George (1911-1956)

Urton, Noël Rosa (1917-2002)(wife)

South African botanist. Noël Rosa Urton was a lecturer in plant taxonomy and related pharmaceutical disciplines in the Pharmacy Department of the former Port Elizabeth Technikon (now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, NMMU), as well as Honorary Botanist at the Port Elizabeth Museum, where she was responsible for historical collections and for plant identifications. These collections are now housed in the Botany Department of NMMU. Interested in the diverse vegetation of the immediate Port Elizabeth region, she became a specialist in the Subtropical Transitional Thicket (Valley Bushveld) from the Aloe Reserve in Bluewater Bay, Port Elizabeth. She earned her doctorate for her work on Rhoicissus tridentata , and is the author of Plants of the Swartkops Valley Bushveld (1993) and an addendum to the same (2000). Her husband, George Urton (1911-1956), was Deputy Superintendent of Parks in Port Elizabeth.

An important tree to preserve in the Reserve is the Sterculia Alexandri.

This species was discovered in a narrow valley near Uitenhage in the Van Stadens Mountains in 1848 by Dr Richard Chandler Prior (1809-1902), an English medical doctor and amateur botanist. He was born Richard Alexander and changed his surname to Prior in 1859. In 1846 he spent 13 months in Cape Town and travelled to George and Uitenhage in 1847, where he collected many plant specimens including Sterculia alexandri. He also travelled in the Karoo and returned to England in May 1848. This species is named in his honour.

In 1960 there was a proclamation to add further to the reserve but then the surrounding farmers started to complain as the reserve was not managed or looked after.