Scientific Name
Alepidea macowani Dummer
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable A2ad; B1ab(v)
Assessment Date
V.L. Williams & A.P. Dold
This species has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 2318 km²and is naturally rare and known from fewer than 10 locations. Collecting for the traditional medicine trade has led to declines in at least three of the seven known locations (representing 43% of the total population). The tubers are not easily distinguishable from those of Alepidea amatymbica, a species which is also heavily harvested and in high demand. It is therefore listed as Vulnerable under criteria A and B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape
This species is endemic to the Eastern Cape province, South Africa, where it occurs from Boschberg near Somerset East to Winterberg and Cathcart.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Amathole Montane Grassland
It is found in grassland on mountain slopes, growing at an altitude of 1000-1770m.
This species is used for traditional medicine and is traded in the Eastern Cape traditional medicine markets (A.P. Dold, pers. comm., 2008). The species is very similar to A. amatymbica and would not be differentiated by collectors/traders since the tubers are near-impossible to tell apart (A.P. Dold, pers. comm., 2008). Alepidea amatymbica/macowanii is very commonly sold in the Eastern Cape markets and was ranked nineteenth in the region (Dold and Cocks 2002). Alepidea macowanii is collected wherever and whenever the opportunity arises by medicinal plant collectors (A.P. Dold, pers. comm., 2008). The species is also naturally rare (P.J.D. Winter, pers. comm., 2008) and only known from a few locations. Given that there has been at least a 30% decline in the A. amatymbica population in the last 60 years (three generations), it is very likely that there has been a similar decline in the A. macowanii population due to its popularity as a traditional medicine and the opportunistic harvesting that is likely to have occurred. Furthermore, at least one of the subpopulations/locations (at Katberg) is on communal land and is therefore easily accessible to harvesters.
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Alepidea macowani DummerVU A2ad; B1ab(v)Raimondo et al. (2009)

Bredenkamp, C.L. 2019. A flora of the Eastern Cape Province. Strelitzia 41. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Burtt, B.L. 1991. Umbelliferae of southern Africa: an introduction and annotated check-list. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 48(2):133-282.

De Castro, A. and Van Wyk, B.-E. 1994. Diagnostic characters and geographic distributions of Alepidea species used in tradional medicine. South African Journal of Botany 60(6):345-350.

Dold, A.P. and Cocks, M.L. 2002. The trade in medicinal plants in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 98:589-597.

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. & Dold, A.P. 2022. Alepidea macowani Dummer. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/07/18

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Distribution map

© P.J.D. Winter

© P.J.D. Winter

© A.P. Dold

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