Scientific Name
Gladiolus cruentus T.Moore
Higher Classification
Common Names
Rooiswaardlelie (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & C.R. Scott-Shaw
Found in a very rare, highly specific habitat near waterfalls (AOO ± 0.1 km²), known from five to seven small subpopulations which are isolated and therefore severely fragmented. There is a continuing decline in habitat quality, in subpopulations and mature individuals, as a result of alien plant invasion and water extraction.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Between Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown and Inanda, with isolated occurrences at Umbululu, Little Noodsberg and Kranskop.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Northern Coastal Forest, Scarp Forest
Scarp forest, on damp sandstone cliffs, often near waterfalls, or anywhere where water drips continuously during the growth season (generally prefers south-facing cliffs), 400-900 m.
With increasing water consumption upstream, many waterfalls are drying up. This is expected to adversely affect this species (C.R. Scott-Shaw). Alien invasive encroachment of riparian areas is a big problem in the Pietermaritzburg area, as well as elsewhere in the range. One subpopulation has already declined as a result of alien encroachment (C.R. Scott-Shaw pers. comm.) and another is threatened by advancing gum trees (P. Goldblatt pers. obs.).

The species appears to be common wherever suitable wet sandstone cliffs occur (Goldblatt and Manning 1998). There are generally only 10-20 clonal individuals at a waterfall (C.R. Scott-Shaw pers. obs.), except at Table Mountain where there is quite a large subpopulation (T.J. Edwards pers. comm.). It cannot be said with certainty that there are less than 50 individuals.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Gladiolus cruentus T.MooreCR B2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Gladiolus cruentus T.MooreEN Scott-Shaw (1999)
Gladiolus cruentus T.MooreRare Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Gladiolus cruentus T.MooreRare Hall et al. (1980)

Crouch, N., Smith, G. and Symmonds, R. 2000. Gasteria croucheri - the magical impundu of the Zulu. British Cactus and Succulent Journal 18(2):70-78.

Hall, A.V., De Winter, M., De Winter, B. and Van Oosterhout, S.A.M. 1980. Threatened plants of southern Africa. South African National Scienctific Programmes Report 45. CSIR, Pretoria.

Hilliard, O.M. and Burtt, B.L. 1983. Notes on some plants of Southern Africa chiefly from Natal: X. Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 41(2):299-319.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, 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.

Scott-Shaw, C.R. 1999. Rare and threatened plants of KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring regions. KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, Pietermaritzburg.

von Staden, L. & Scott-Shaw, C.R. 2007. Gladiolus cruentus T.Moore. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/07/14

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Distribution map

© S. Parbhoo

© S. Parbhoo

© S. Parbhoo

© H. Mtshali

© J. Stephenson

© T. Peterson

© T. Peterson

© T. Peterson

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