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Marasmodes sp. nov.

Scientific Name
Marasmodes sp. nov. (Magee & Koopman 499 NBG)
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); C2a(i,ii); D
Assessment Date
R. Koopman, I. Ebrahim, L. von Staden & A.R. Magee
A single, small subpopulation of about 20 plants surviving in a 20 hectare alluvial fynbos fragment is threatened by ongoing habitat degradation.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Romansrivier in the Breede River Valley between Wolseley and Worcester.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Breede Alluvium Fynbos
Seasonally damp alluvial flats.
Most of this species' habitat has been converted to vineyards, orchards and crop fields, and only small fragments remain. Loss to agricultural expansion and other development is ongoing in the Breede River Valley. Remnants of alluvial fynbos are infested with unmanaged alien invasive plants, and continue to be degraded due to livestock grazing and a lack of fire. Reseeders such as Marasmodes oppositifolia require fire to regenerate, but fires are often excluded from small fragments due to the risks of damage to surrounding infrastructure and crops. Small fragments are also often overstocked with livestock, leading to overgrazing and trampling of the vegetation.

This species was first discovered in 2010. Further surveys of remaining fragments of Breede Alluvium Fynbos have failed to locate any other subpopulations. The only known subpopulation consists of around 20 plants. The site has been secured for conservation through a 15-year biodiversity agreement, during which time it will be safeguarded from land-use changes. It is however not certain that the contract will be renewed after it comes to an end. There are some alien invasive plants present at the site, which need to be cleared to prevent them from outcompeting native species. Recent road construction at the edge of the site may have altered water flow patterns in the wetland, which may impact this wetland-dependent species in future. The population is being monitored to determine the impact of these threats over time.

Population trend
Koopman, R., Ebrahim, I., von Staden, L. & Magee, A.R. 2016. Marasmodes sp. nov. (Magee & Koopman 499 NBG). National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2020/01/18

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Distribution map