Scientific Name
Pelargonium reniforme Curtis
Higher Classification
Common Names
Rabassam (e), Rooirabas (a), Rooirabassam (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened A4bd
Assessment Date
D. Raimondo, J.E. Victor, A.P. Dold & A. de Castro
This slow growing geophytic taxon (generation length 20 years) is undergoing ongoing decline as a result of medicinal harvesting. Although the more widespread P. sidoides is predominantly targeted by pharmaceutical companies, P. reniforme is often harvested along with P. sidoides where the two species occur sympatrically in the Eastern Cape. Between 10 and 15% of the population is suspected to have been lost since 2002 due to widespread overharvesting. The demand for Pelargonium sidoides and related species is increasing and we suspect a minimum of a further 10% of the population of P. reniforme will be lost in the next 20 years.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Western Cape
This species is endemic to the Eastern and Western Cape provinces, where it extends from Knysna to Umtata.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Eastern Inland Shale Band Vegetation, Baviaans Valley Thicket, Bethelsdorp Bontveld, Doubledrift Karroid Thicket, Fish Valley Thicket, Grahamstown Grassland Thicket, Grass Ridge Bontveld, Motherwell Karroid Thicket, Nanaga Savanna Thicket, Sundays Mesic Thicket, Sundays Valley Thicket, Albany Mesic Thicket, Albany Alluvial Vegetation, Bhisho Thornveld, North Outeniqua Sandstone Fynbos, Kouga Sandstone Fynbos, Kouga Grassy Sandstone Fynbos, Algoa Sandstone Fynbos, Loerie Conglomerate Fynbos, Southern Mistbelt Forest, Humansdorp Shale Renosterveld, Amathole Mistbelt Grassland, Southern Drakensberg Highland Grassland, Tarkastad Montane Shrubland, St Francis Dune Thicket
It grows in dry flats and open grassland and grassy fynbos.
This species is harvested for local use in traditional medicine. In addition, it is also often harvested in large volumes for large-scale commercial herbal medicine production, as it is vegetatively virtually identical to Pelargonium sidoides, which is a widespread and common species primarily targeted for international trade. Local extirpations and widespread decline have been observed around Grahamstown, Peddie and Alice between 2002 and 2012, and it is suspected that the population has been reduced by between 20 and 30%.
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Pelargonium reniforme Curtis subsp. reniforme Data Deficient Raimondo et al. (2009)
Pelargonium reniforme Curtis subsp. velutinum (Eckl. & Zeyh.) DreyerLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

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.

Motjotji, L. 2011. Towards Sustainability of Harvesting the Medicinal Plant Pelargonium sidoides (Geraniaceae). Unpublished M.Sc., University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

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.

Vlok, J. and Schutte-Vlok, A.L. 2010. Plants of the Klein Karoo. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.

Raimondo, D., Victor, J.E., Dold, A.P. & de Castro, A. 2012. Pelargonium reniforme Curtis. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/04/17

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Distribution map

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

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