Southern Spiny Coffee-medlar

Scientific Name
Rytigynia celastroides (Baill.) Verdc. var. australis Verdc.
Higher Classification
Common Names
Southern Spiny Coffee-medlar (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v)
Assessment Date
H. Matimele, D. Raimondo & J.E. Burrows
This species has a highly restricted distribution range in South Africa (national EOO 375 km², AOO <375 km²) and it is known from two locations. It is declining due to habitat destruction and degradation across its range in South Africa and Mozambique. Therefore the national status is not adjusted, following IUCN regional assessment procedures (IUCN 2003).
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
A Maputaland Centre endemic, occurring from Lake Sibaya, northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to the Licuati Forest Reserve and Maputo Elephant Reserve in Maputo Province, southern Mozambique.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Tembe Sandy Bushveld, Sand Forest, Northern Coastal Forest
A small tree occurring in dry thicket and sand forest, always restricted to sandy substrates.
In South Africa this species is declining due to ongoing habitat loss to expanding rural settlements and subsistence agriculture outside protected areas. Very little of its natural habitat remains intact. Within protected areas, overstocking of large herbivores, particularly elephants, is leading to ongoing degradation of forested areas. In Mozambique, its habitat is being rapidly eradicated for charcoal production at Licuati Forest Reserve.

The species is known from four subpopulations. There are two subpopulations in southern Mozambique at the Licuati Forest Reserve and Maputo Elephant Reserve, and two subpopulations in South Africa, at Tembe Elephant Reserve and Manzengwenya area to Lake Sibaya in South Africa. The population is declining rapidly in Mozambique, as well as outside protected areas in South Africa.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Rytigynia celastroides (Baill.) Verdc. var. australis Verdc.EN B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v)2017.1
Rytigynia celastroides (Baill.) Verdc. var. australis Verdc.Least Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Boon, R. 2010. Pooley's Trees of eastern South Africa. Flora and Fauna Publications Trust, Durban.

Bridson, D.M. 1998. Rubiaceae. In: G.V. Pope (ed). Flora Zambesiaca 5 (Part 2):211-369. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

IUCN. 2003. Guidelines for application of IUCN Red List Criteria at regional levels. Version 3.0. IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

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.

Matimele, H., Raimondo, D. & Burrows, J.E. 2016. Rytigynia celastroides (Baill.) Verdc. var. australis Verdc. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2024/02/24

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Distribution map

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