Blistering Leaves

Scientific Name
Anemone bracteata (Harv. ex J.Zahlbr.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt
Higher Classification
Knowltonia bracteata Harv. ex J.Zahlbr., Knowltonia rigida Salisb., Knowltonia rigida Salisb. var. simplicifolia Harv.
Common Names
Blistering Leaves (e), Brandblaar (a), Umvuthuza (z), Umvuthuza (x)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable A2d; B2ab(v)
Assessment Date
V.L. Williams, D. Raimondo, N.R. Crouch, A.B. Cunningham, C.R. Scott-Shaw, M. Lötter & A.M. Ngwenya
This species is common in traditional medicine markets and very rare in the wild. A decline of >30% over the past 15 years is estimated as a result of heavy trade pressure (generation length five years). AOO <2000 km², severely fragmented subpopulations occur in isolated sites and continue to decline.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
KwaZulu-Natal Highland Thornveld, Moist Coast Hinterland Grassland, Southern Coastal Forest, Scarp Forest, Southern Mistbelt Forest, Northern Afrotemperate Forest, Kouga Grassy Sandstone Fynbos, Pondoland-Ugu Sandstone Coastal Sourveld, Subtropical Dune Thicket, Umtiza Forest Thicket
In forest understorey, edges of seeps and vleis in grassland.
Knowltonia is a forest herb and the entire plant is used and harvested. Cunningham (1988) estimated that 144 bags (50kg-size) were sold annually in the KwaZulu-Natal markets between 54 herb-traders. Given the size of the plant, this is a very high quantity. The species was classed as 'declining' - i.e. recently widespread but likely to become vulnerable and continue to decline if harvesting of wild populations continued. The species isn't seen very often in the Durban markets or in the wild these days (N.R. Crouch, pers. comm., 2008). However, there is evidence that they have recently become more prevalent in the Eastern Cape markets even though they are very sparse in the wild (A.P. Dold, pers. comm., 2008). There has been a definite decline in population size, and there are signs of harvesting from the wild in the Eastern Cape; usually only 1-2 plants are seen (A.P. Dold, pers. comm., 2008). The species is reportedly easy to grow from seed. The participants of the 2008 Red List medicinals workshop at SANBI, Durban, estimated a 30% decline over the last 3 generations (15 years).
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Anemone bracteata (Harv. ex J.Zahlbr.) J.C.Manning & GoldblattVU A2d; B2ab(v)2014.1
Knowltonia bracteata Harv. ex J.Zahlbr.VU A2d; B2ab(v)Raimondo et al. (2009)

Cunningham, A.B. 1988. An investigation of the herbal medicine trade in Natal/KwaZulu. Investigational Report No. 29. Institute of Natural Resources, Pietermaritzburg.

Manning, J.C., Goldblatt, P. and Hoot, S.B. 2009. Ranunculaceae: The genus Knowltonia subsumed within Anemone. Bothalia 39(2):217-219.

Pooley, E. 1998. A field guide to wild flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the eastern region. Natal Flora 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.

Williams, V.L., Raimondo, D., Crouch, N.R., Cunningham, A.B., Scott-Shaw, C.R., Lötter, M. & Ngwenya, A.M. 2008. Anemone bracteata (Harv. ex J.Zahlbr.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2024/02/24

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Distribution map

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