Scientific Name
Romulea elliptica Vos
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Assessment Date
N.A. Helme, J.G. Claassens & L. von Staden
EOO 3 km², AOO <0.7 km², an extremely localized species. The population has been reduced and fragmented by habitat loss to agriculture and infrastructure development, and currently three small subpopulations remain, spread across four small fragments, where they are threatened by ongoing habitat loss and degradation as a result of industrial development and overgrazing. The population size is estimated to be no more than 600 mature individuals.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Vredenburg to Saldanha Bay.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Saldanha Flats Strandveld
White sandy flats.
Past habitat loss to crop cultivation has severely reduced the habitat of the extremely limited distribution range of this species, and plants remain on a few fragments of only a few hectares each. Remaining subpopulations are threatened by ongoing habitat loss to urban and industrial expansion of Vredenburg and Saldanha as well as overgrazing due to overstocking of small fragments.

Romulea elliptica is currently known from only three subpopulations, confined to a very limited area between Vredenburg and Saldanha. Two subpopulations are spread over a cluster of three small fragments dissected by roads and other infrastructure, while a third subpopulation is located on an isolated fragment about 2.3 km to the south-east. The largest subpopulation consists of between 200 and 400 mature individuals, and the total population size is estimated as no more than 600 mature individuals.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Romulea elliptica VosCR B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v); C2a(i,ii); D12011.1
Romulea elliptica VosCR B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v); C2a(i,ii); D1Raimondo et al. (2009)
Romulea elliptica VosVulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Romulea elliptica VosVulnerable Hall et al. (1980)

De Vos, M.P. 1972. The genus Romulea in South Africa. Journal of South African Botany Supplement 9:1-307.

De Vos, M.P. 1983. Syringodea, Romulea. In: O.A. Leistner (ed). Flora of Southern Africa 7 Iridaceae, Part 2 Ixioideae, Fascicle 2:1-73. Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria.

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

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.

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

Manning, J., Goldblatt, P. and Snijman, D. 2002. The color encyclopedia of Cape bulbs. Timber Press, Portland/Cambridge.

Manning, J.C. and Goldblatt, P. 2001. A synoptic review of Romulea (Iridaceae: Crocoideae) in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra including new species, biological notes, and a new infrageneric classification. Adansonia 23(1):59-108.

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.

Helme, N.A., Claassens, J.G. & von Staden, L. 2012. Romulea elliptica Vos. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/07/01

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

© N.A. Helme

© N.A. Helme

© N.A. Helme

© N.A. Helme

Search for images of Romulea elliptica on iNaturalist