Scientific Name
Bonatea lamprophylla J.L.Stewart
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)
Assessment Date
J.E. Victor, C.R. Scott-Shaw, B. Church, D. McMurtry, L. Grobler & S. Burns
This species has a restricted range in South Africa and has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 3909 km² area of occupancy of 40 km². It is known from seven locations. There is an ongoing decline in the number of individuals due to harvesting for horticultural purposes. A decline in the number of subpopulations has also been observed due to habitat loss for industrial development. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable under criterion B.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
This species is confined to the coastal plain in eastern southern Africa, from Richards Bay in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal to southern Mozambique.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Maputaland Pallid Sandy Bushveld, Northern Coastal Forest
It occurs in deeply shaded areas in coastal dune forest, from near sea level to an altitude of 170 m.
A very charismatic orchid, with large showy flowers. This species is quite popular with orchid collectors and is threatened by illegal collecting. The sites where this orchid grows within the St Lucia wetland park are not easily accessible, and may therefore lessen the severity of the threat. However, one monitored population at Lala Nek disappeared for unknown reasons. The subpopulation near the Richards Bay harbour has also declined due to habitat degradation as a result of ongoing developments around the harbour. There are still some relictual patches of dune forest next to a coal terminal, where individuals may still survive, but their presence is unconfirmed and they face an uncertain future. There were proposals for dune mining within the St Lucia wetland park previously, but after a huge public outcry and environmental impact assessments establishing the ecological and conservation value of the site, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 and there are currently no threats from mining. The subpopulation on road between Tshongwe and Mbazwana is threatened by habitat loss due to expanding rural settlements.

This species occurs in a variety of habitats, from dune forests to "Terminalia scrub". It also occurs in road servitudes (disturbed areas). The largest known subpopulation consists of 29 plants counted in Ntshongwe (drier, more inland area). A subpopulation at Richards Bay harbour that was threatened by development were taken out and relocated, but unfortunately did not survive the move. This species may still occur in a few unexplored pockets of undisturbed dune forest in the Richards Bay area.

Population trend
It is conserved in Greater St Lucia Wetland Park.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Bonatea lamprophylla J.L.StewartVU B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Bonatea lamprophylla J.L.StewartVU B1B2cD2Victor (2002)
Bonatea lamprophylla J.L.StewartVU Scott-Shaw (1999)
Bonatea lamprophylla J.L.StewartRare Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Linder, H.P. and Kurzweil, H. 1999. Orchids of southern Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Ponsie, M.E., Edwards, T.J. and Johnson, S.D. 2007. A taxonomic revision of Bonatea Willd. (Orchidaceae: Orchidoideae: Habenariinae). South African Journal of Botany 73:1-21.

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.

Victor, J.E. 2002. South Africa. In: J.S. Golding (ed), Southern African plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 14 (pp. 93-120), SABONET, Pretoria.

Victor, J.E., Scott-Shaw, C.R., Church, B., McMurtry, D., Grobler, L. & Burns, S. 2022. Bonatea lamprophylla J.L.Stewart. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/07/22

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Distribution map

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