Pondo False Spike-thorn

Scientific Name
Putterlickia retrospinosa A.E.van Wyk & Mostert
Higher Classification
Common Names
Large-leaved Bastard Spike-thorn (e), Pondo False Spike-thorn (e), Pondo Mock Spike-thorn (e), Pondo-valspendoring (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & A.T.D. Abbott
A range-restricted Pondoland endemic (EOO 1900 km²), known from more than 10 locations. There is continuing decline in the quality and extent of the habitat outside of reserves as a result of frequent and intense grassland fires impacting forest margins. Within protected areas the species is common, and subpopulations are not severely fragmented.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
Oribi Gorge to Ntsubane.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Pondoland scarp forest, restricted to rocky areas along upper margins of forests above the deep river gorges.
The main threat to Pondoland woody endemics restricted to forest margins is too frequent and intense grassland fires that are causing forest margins to recede (D. Styles, C.R. Scott-Shaw pers. obs.) This threat is affecting forest margins mainly in the areas between Umtamvuna and Mkambati Nature Reserves, and around Lusikisiki. From Port Edward to Oribi the largest remaining areas of forest are fairly well protected within the Umtamvuna and Oribi Gorge Nature Reserves, however, some areas of forest above the edges of these deep gorges have undoubtedly been cleared for forestry and agriculture (mainly sugarcane) in the past. Smaller forest patches outside of reserves are threatened by the effects of fragmentation and isolation within a transformed landscape as well as alien invasive encroachment. The small forest fragments at Izotsha Falls and the tributary of the Uvongo River are severely degraded due to firewood harvesting (Van Wyk 1984).
Population trend
Protected in the Oribi Gorge, Umtamvuna and Mkambati Nature Reserves.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Putterlickia retrospinosa A.E.van Wyk & MostertNT B1ab(iii)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Putterlickia retrospinosa A.E.van Wyk & MostertLower Risk - Least Concern Scott-Shaw (1999)

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

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.

Van Wyk, A.E. 1984. A new species of Maytenus (Celastraceae) from southern Natal. South African Journal of Botany 3(2):115-119.

Van Wyk, A.E. and Mostert, S.C. 1987. A new species of Putterlickia (Celastraceae) from southern Natal and Pondoland. South African Journal of Botany 53(4):267-270.

von Staden, L. & Abbott, A.T.D. 2007. Putterlickia retrospinosa A.E.van Wyk & Mostert. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/08/16

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Distribution map

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