Polycarena silenoides Harv. ex Benth.
|Nycterinia selaginoides (Thunb.) Benth. var. parviflora Benth., Zaluzianskya selaginoides (Thunb.) Walp. var. parviflora (Benth.) Walp., Zaluzianskya villosa F.W.Schmidt var. parviflora (Benth.) Hiern in Fl. Cap. 4(2): 345 (1904), excluding all cited specimens (in part)|
|Granite Cape Flax (e)|
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
|G. Laidler, D.A. Snijman & D. van der Colff|
|One small subpopulation (EOO 0.13 km², AOO <0.13 km²) is suspected to continue to decline due to ongoing competition from alien invasive plants.|
|South African endemic|
|Lion's Head, Cape Peninsula.|
Habitat and Ecology
|Peninsula Granite Fynbos|
|The only known population occurs within the Table Mountain National Park, but its habitat is infested with alien invasive grasses that are likely to outcompete native species. Alien grass infestations are extremely difficult to control, and stems from the reserve bordering on urban areas - a continuous source of exotic and invasive species entering indigenous fynbos vegetation. There is also ongoing degradation of granite fynbos on the slopes of Lion's Head due to too frequent fires, but it may not have such a severe impact on P. silenoides as it is an annual species.|
Polycarena silenoides was previously known only from a small number of historical records, and has not been seen for more than 100 years. It was thought to be possibly extinct until targeted surveys relocated a population at the type locality in 2015. This species is most likely a fire ephemeral, as it was found following a fire, but then the population could not be relocated in the following year (G. Laidler pers. comm. 2016). About 20 plants were counted in 2015, but this species is very cryptic and easily overlooked among dense vegetation, and therefore the population size may be an underestimate. The population trend is not known at this stage, but is suspected to be either fluctuating or declining.
|Laidler, G., Snijman, D.A. & van der Colff, D. 2016. Polycarena silenoides Harv. ex Benth. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2019/12/06|