Threatened Species Programme
In one of the continent's largest collaborative conservation projects to date, South Africa has become the first megadiverse country to fully assess the status of its entire flora. The Red List of South African Plants Online provides up to date information on the national conservation status of South Africa's indigenous plants.
The conservation status of plants indicated on the Red List of South African Plants Online represents the status of the species within South Africa's borders. This means that when a species is not endemic to South Africa, only the portion of the species population occurring within South Africa has been assessed. The global conservation status, which is a result of the assessment of the entire global range of a species, can be found on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species: http://www.iucnredlist.org
Welcome to the Red List of South African plants version 2014.1
Since South Africa’s first comprehensive national Red List was completed in 2009, more than 300 plant species new to science have been documented. With over 20 000 species, South Africa has the world’s richest temperate flora, but much still remains to be explored and discovered. Most of these new species were discovered in areas considered botanically well-explored, such as the Western Cape, but they are also predominantly range-restricted, often cryptic, and occurring in specialized micro-habitats such as quartz patches or mountain summits. Areas with the highest number of new species described include known centres of endemism such as the Hantam-Roggeveld (16 species), Gariep (9 species) and Knersvlakte (9 species), as well as other areas such as the Cederberg (15 species), Overberg (10 species), and the Vredenburg Peninsula, where 10 new species have been found in an area of less than 1000 km2 (see map on the left). More concerning is the fact that nearly 40% of these species are in danger of extinction. Many are recent discoveries, but others were described from material collected a long time ago, and five are probably already extinct, highlighting the importance of continued botanical exploration and study, as well as regular updating of the national plant Red List. Pictured below are some of the new species added to the Red List in the past five years: