Taxonomy
Scientific Name
Conophytum youngii Rodgerson
Higher Classification
Dicotyledons
Family
AIZOACEAE
National Status
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B1ab(v)+2ab(v)
Assessment Date
2020/02/05
Assessor(s)
A.J. Young & D. Raimondo
Justification
A highly restricted range and recently discovered species known from a single location in Namaqualand South Africa. It occupies an area of less than 2 km² and has and extent of occurrence (EOO) and an area of occupancy (EOO) of 4 km². There are severe and rapid declines to this species taking place as a result of illegal harvesting for the succulent trade. Individual plants fetch high prices. Collecting pressure has dramatically increased since March 2019 as a result of demand for Conophytum species coming from Asian countries. This species therefore qualifies as Critically Endangered under criterion B.
Distribution
Endemism
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
Range
Namaqualand near Garies.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Terrestrial
Major habitats
Namaqualand Klipkoppe Shrubland
Description
Lichen and moss-filled cracks on south-facing sides of granite domes.
Threats
This is a highly sought after species in cultivation, with plants currently fetching high prices. Illegal collection is a major extinction threat to the single small, localised, population of plants. Furthermore there are active granite quarries in the vicinity of the type locality, and the population is at further risk from habitat loss, should there be expansion of quarrying activities to the granite dome where it occurs.
Population

This recently discovered species is known from a single, large subpopulation consisting of several thousand individuals. It belongs to a small group of spring-flowering Conophytums (most species flower in autumn), which may explain why it has been overlooked until now, despite its habitat being well-explored. Its quite likely occurs on other similar granite domes in the area, but thus far, no more subpopulations have been found. Plants are extremely cryptic when not in flower, and may be easily overlooked. The population is currently stable, but is highly vulnerable due to its extremely localized distribution.


Population trend
Decreasing
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Conophytum youngii RodgersonVU D22017.1
Bibliography

Rodgerson, C. 2012. The National Road and another new Conophytum. CactusWorld 30(4):239-244.


Citation
Young, A.J. & Raimondo, D. 2020. Conophytum youngii Rodgerson. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2020/10/25

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Distribution map

© A.J. Young


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