Scientific Name
Brachystelma pulchellum (Harv.) Schltr.
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden, D. Styles & D. Raimondo
EOO 400 km², although its habitat continues to be severely impacted by urban development, overgrazing and frequent fires, it is still relatively common and easily located in suitable habitat. Currently known from 11 locations.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Eastern Valley Bushveld, KwaZulu-Natal Sandstone Sourveld, KwaZulu-Natal Hinterland Thornveld, Dry Coast Hinterland Grassland, Scarp Forest, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Belt Grassland
Low grassland, in shallow soils on or near sandstone outcrops or sheets of exposed sandstone, often on the edges of sandstone cliffs.
Urban development is the most serious threat to this species. Its distribution range is confined entirely within an area affected by rapidly expanding urban development, and while it was mostly protected by its habitat from agriculture in the past, urban development is now impacting on populations of this species as buildings and disturbance extend right onto cliff edges, especially in the upmarket suburbs north of Durban where houses are built on steep cliffs and plateaux to maximize views. In peri-urban areas low-lying grasslands are densely settled and cultivated, but the sandstone plateaux have not been transformed much. However, these plateaux, the highly specific habitat of this species, are used as communal rangelands, and grazed by large herds of cattle. According to personal observations by David Styles, trampling by cattle is causing the destruction of tubers where they are wedged in shallow soil pockets among rocks. Heavy grazing is however a minor threat in comparison to development.

One subpopulation consists of 30 plants on a 50 m length of cliff face (P. Wragg pers. comm. 2007), no other population data is currently available. It is known to be locally common at Kranzkloof, the site overlooking the Valley of Thousand Hills and at Summerveld.

Population trend
Protected in the Kranzkloof Nature Reserve.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Brachystelma pulchellum (Harv.) Schltr.NT B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Brachystelma pulchellum (Harv.) Schltr.VU B1B2abcdeScott-Shaw (1999)

Dyer, R.A. 1978. Brachystelma ngomense. Flowering Plants of Africa 45(1-2):t.1769A.

Dyer, R.A. 1978. Brachystelma pulchellum. Flowering Plants of Africa 45(1-2):t.1769B.

Dyer, R.A. 1980. Brachystelma, Ceropegia and Riocreuxia. In: O.A. Leistner (ed). Flora of Southern Africa 27 Part 4:1-88. Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria.

Dyer, R.A. 1983. Ceropegia, Brachystelma and Riocreuxia in southern Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

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.

Wragg, P. 2005. Brachystelma pulchellum and Durbania amakosa flavida: KZN coastal hinterland endemics. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Unpublished essay.

Wragg, P. 2006. Conservation status of threatened milkweeds (Apocynaceae) of the Natal Group Sandstone Grasslands: Brachystelma natalense (Schltr.) N.E.Br., B. pulchellum (Harv.) Schltr., and Schizoglossum peglerae N.E. Br. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Unpublished essay.

von Staden, L., Styles, D. & Raimondo, D. 2007. Brachystelma pulchellum (Harv.) Schltr. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/06/14

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

© D. Styles

© D. Styles

© D. Styles

Search for images of Brachystelma pulchellum on iNaturalist