Scientific Name
Watsonia bachmannii L.Bolus
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
D. Raimondo, C.R. Scott-Shaw & L. von Staden
EOO 400 km², AOO < 400 km², known from five to 10 locations. A rare species that occurs in very small subpopulations, often as single individuals. It continues to decline due to ongoing habitat degradation mainly due to overgrazing and subsistence agriculture as well as afforestation and commercial crop cultivation altering water flow dynamics.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
Umtamvuna to Mkweni River.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Pondoland-Ugu Sandstone Coastal Sourveld
Pondoland coastal grassland, Msikaba Formation Sandstone, in seepages and vleis, but also in open grassland and among rocks, 50-500 m.
This species is very rare and occurs in threatened habitats (T. Abbott pers. comm. 2007). Although it occurs in open grasslands and rocky sites, this species appears to be predominantly found in marshy habitats. Such habitats are mostly lost or degraded in the northern corner of its range (mainly the part that falls within southern KwaZulu-Natal) and offer little or no future to sustain a subpopulation. Most of the relatively few marshy areas in Umtamvuna Nature Reserve are prone to unnatural changes in water tables, nutrients etc. attributable to the intensive cultivation along the boundary as well as water abstraction by exotic timber plantations. This habitat may not cope with heavy selective grazing in these subsistence farming areas - reduced water retention and direct herbivory of the forbs occurs - therefore, decline in habitat is likely across Pondoland with the exception, perhaps, of Mkambati Nature Reserve (C.R. Scott-Shaw pers. comm. 2007).

Subpopulations are extremely small and plants often occur singly( Goldblatt and Manning 8522, Helme 3213). Subpopulations in Umtamvuna at Offices and Blencathra are threatened by water extraction by exotic timber plantations directly above the sites. The Western Heights site is possibly threatened, but plantations are further away. Subpopulations outside reserves including Mnyameni (2), Ndindini Stream (1), Mkweni River Mouth, north of Mkambati Road (1) and Port Grosvenor (one old, uncertain) could all be considered one location as they are threatened by subsistence agriculture, overgrazing, habitat degradation and too frequent fire, but subpopulations in rocky areas such as Mkambati Road and off the Mnyameni Road are potentially less severely threatened as the rocks provide some shelter. Subpopulations within Mkambati Nature Reserve could be considered as one location. There are at least three subpopulations in this reserve (see notes by Tony Abbott).

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Watsonia bachmannii L.BolusVU B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Watsonia bachmannii L.BolusLower Risk - Near Threatened Scott-Shaw (1999)
Watsonia bachmannii L.BolusRare Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Abbott, A., Van Wyk, A.E., Johnson, D.N. and Scott-Shaw, C.R. 2000. Checklist of the macrofungi, lichens, bryophytes and vascular plants of the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, South Africa. Lammergeyer 46:1-69.

Abbott, T. 2006. The story of the Pondoland Centre. PlantLife 33&34:5-72.

Goldblatt, P. 1989. The genus Watsonia. A systematic monograph. Annals of Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens 19:1-148. National Botanic Gardens, Cape Town.

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.

Raimondo, D., Scott-Shaw, C.R. & von Staden, L. 2007. Watsonia bachmannii L.Bolus. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/06/21

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Distribution map

© C. Paterson-Jones

© A.T.D. Abbott

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