Scientific Name
Conophytum smaleorum Rodgerson & A.J.Young
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable D2
Assessment Date
A.J. Young & D. Raimondo
A highly localised species known from only one location from an area of under 1 km² in the Richtersveld region of South Africa. In accordance with the IUCN Red List guidelines it has an extent of occurrence (EOO) and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 4 km². With a significant increase in demand for Conophytums to supply the specialist succulent horticulture trade coming from Asian countries since March 2019 this highly localised species is now potentially threatened by illegal collection. It therefore qualifies for Vulnerable under Criterion D2.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
information redacted, contact SANBI
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Succulent Karoo
Crevices in quartzitic-mica rocks and amongst rubble, occasionally in shade of small shrubs.
This species is increasingly popular in cultivation and in demand by collectors. Collection is a potential threat to the single very small and highly localised population. With a significant increase having taken place in the illegal trade of wild harvested Conophytum plants spurred by increased demand from Asian countries since March 2019 this is serious potential threat. Since this is a rare and recently described species, it may be targeted for its novelty value. The population however occurs in a very remote and difficult to access area and there is as yet no evidence that this species has been collected from the wild.

Conophytum smaleorum was recently (2009) discovered in a very remote area of the eastern Richtersveld. At the type locality it is locally common, and the population is scattered across a hillside and hilltop. No estimate of the population size has been made, but it is likely to be more than 1000 mature individuals. The area is difficult to access, and similar habitat in surrounding areas remain relatively poorly explored. It is possible that other, still undiscovered subpopulations exist.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Conophytum smaleorum Rodgerson & A.J.YoungCritically Rare 2017.1

Rodgerson, C. and Young, A.J. 2013. Conophytum smaleorum: A new Knopie from the southern Richtersveld. CactusWorld 31(3):197-201.

Young, A.J. & Raimondo, D. 2020. Conophytum smaleorum Rodgerson & A.J.Young. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/08

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Distribution map

© A.J. Young

© A.J. Young

© A.J. Young

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