The Karoo is arid, semi-desert country. The plant composition is unstable and influenced by the variation in rainfall, with autumn and spring rains favouring the growth of karroid plants (karoo bushes), while mid to late summer rains favour grass, taller shrubs and trees.
The system is highly resilient, able to recover rapidly after droughts, insect outbreaks and overgrazing. However, areas of the park are still in a transitional state due to the effects of previous veld mismanagement. Unpalatable species, dwarf shrubs and poor ground cover have replaced palatable grasses and karoo bushes in areas that were overgrazed in the past.
The diverse landscape of the park in relation to altitude, aspect and soil type has led to the development of three distinct physiognomic classes of vegetation: shrubland, succulent thicket and dwarf shrubland.
Shrubland is located on sandstone dominated uplands above 1300 metre elevation. This vegetation displays a gradient from a moist condition, in which shrubs are separated by grasslands, to a dry condition in which inter-clump cover is dominated by dwarf shrubs.
Succulent thicket is dominated by shrubs and succulents of sub-tropical affinity.
Dwarf shrubland is restricted to the bottomlands where alkaline alluvial soils are encountered. It may be grassy, succulent or degraded, depending on the nature of the near-surface substrate, the frequency of precipitation and recent land-use history.
To date 336 plant species have been collected, among which 71 families of flowering plants are represented. The most important of these are daisies (55 species), grasses (36 species), lilies (25 species) and succulent Crassula's (16 species).
A wetland plant community occurs primarily within the water fluctuation area of the dam. The dynamic nature of this short grassland includes patches of either 'fluitjiesriet', Phragmitis communis, tamarisk, Tamarix usneoides or cosmopolitan weeds. The most common grasses in this vegetation unit include the creeping perennials Cynodon dactylon and C. incompletes.
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