Scientific Name
Conophytum ratum S.A.Hammer
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
A.J. Young, L. von Staden & P.G. Desmet
One small remaining population number fewer than 1000 plants within an extent of occurrence (EOO) of less than 10 km² continue to decline due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation due to mining. Furthermore this species is targeted by succulent collectors. It therefore qualifies as Critically Endangered under criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
Bushmanland Inselbergs near Aggeneys, in the Northern Cape, South Africa.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Aggeneys Gravel Vygieveld
Spongy quartz soil.
Mining expansion is causing severe, ongoing habitat loss and degradation. This threat is affecting the majority of the remaining population. Despite the cryptic nature of the plants illegal collecting is a potential problem. The species has disappeared from several sites known through historical records, which is suspected to be the result of illegal collecting. One subpopulation is known to have been cleared out by plant collectors. With the significant increase in demand for Conophytums coming from Asian countries since March 2019 since species remains highly threatened by collecting.

The largest known subpopulation of this species consists of about 1000 mature individuals, and this subpopulation is declining due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation. There are a few historical records from other inselbergs in the area, but several recent field surveys failed to relocate the species at any of these sites. These were probably small, unviable subpopulations.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Conophytum ratum S.A.HammerCR B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)2017.1
Conophytum ratum S.A.HammerVU A4acdeRaimondo et al. (2009)

Hammer, S. 1991. A new sphaeroid from Bushmanland. Cactus and Succulent Journal (USA) 63(3):67-69.

Hammer, S. 2002. Dumpling and his wife: New view of the genus Conophytum. EAE Creative Colour, Norwich.

Hammer, S.A. 1993. The genus Conophytum: A conograph. Succulent Plant Publications, Pretoria.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Young, A.J., von Staden, L. & Desmet, P.G. 2020. Conophytum ratum S.A.Hammer. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2020/07/09

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Distribution map

© C. Paterson-Jones

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