Scientific Name
Marasmodes undulata Compton
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); C2a(ii)
Assessment Date
D. Raimondo, N.A. Helme, R. Koopman & L. von Staden
Fewer than 65 plants remain at a single location after more than 95% habitat loss to urban and agricultural expansion over the past 60 years. Monitoring indicates that the population continues to decline despite management interventions.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Swartland Shale Renosterveld
Seasonally damp gravelly flats.
Only four hectares of this species' natural habitat remains after an estimated 95% loss to urban and agricultural expansion. The site, a municipal campsite, is severely degraded due to a lack of fire and dense infestations of alien invasive plants.

Marasmodes undulata was described in 1946 from a single collection (Compton 1946). The species was then not seen again for 34 years and was thought to be extinct, as natural vegetation in the area where it was last seen was subsequently lost to urban expansion (Hall et al. 1980). A single small subpopulation of 300 plants was rediscovered in 1980 on a 4 hectare remnant of natural vegetation, probably in more or less the same area where Compton recorded it in 1946 (Hall and Veldhuis 1985). This subpopulation has been monitored since the 1990s, when there were 200 plants, but it declined to 20 plants in 2005 and 17 in 2011. The site was partially burnt in 2006 in an attempt to promote recruitment, as it was suspected that the population is declining due to senescence in the absence of fire. However, no new post-fire recruitment have been recorded during surveys in 2006 and 2011. Fifty-five plants were counted in an unburnt piece of vegetation in 2014, but less than 10 plants could be found in the recently burnt section.

Population trend
The last remaining subpopulation has no formal protection, but the local municipality is aware of the importance of the site fore the conservation of this species, and steps have been taken to improve the management of the site, such as a controlled burn in 2006. Alien invasive plant clearing is however still needed.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Marasmodes undulata ComptonCR A2a; B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); C2a(i,ii)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Marasmodes undulata ComptonVU D2Victor (2002)
Marasmodes undulata ComptonEndangered Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Marasmodes undulata ComptonExtinct Hall et al. (1980)

Compton, R.H. 1946. Plantae Novae Africanae: Marasmodes undulata. Journal of South African Botany 12:87-89.

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Hall, A.V., De Winter, M., De Winter, B. and Van Oosterhout, S.A.M. 1980. Threatened plants of southern Africa. South African National Scienctific Programmes Report 45. CSIR, Pretoria.

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

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.

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.

Raimondo, D., Helme, N.A., Koopman, R. & von Staden, L. 2016. Marasmodes undulata Compton. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/01/26

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Distribution map

© R. Koopman

© R. Koopman

© C. Burgers

© I. Ebrahim

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