Scientific Name
Gnaphalium nelsonii Burtt Davy
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(iii)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
Gnaphalium nelsonii is a widespread (EOO 29 356 km²), but very poorly known species. There are only a few collections, scattered over North West Province and Gauteng, suggesting that it occurs at fewer than 10 locations. It is possibly overlooked, and more common than records suggest, but more field surveys are needed to confirm this. As it is likely to be threatened by ongoing habitat loss and degradation at all known localities, it is likely to be declining, although its resilience to disturbance is not known. The risk of extinction of this species is very uncertain, due to a lack of supporting data, but it is preliminarily assessed as Near Threatened, pending further field studies.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Gauteng, North West
Pretoria to Vereeniging and Wolmaransstad.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Grassland, Savanna
Seasonally wet places in grassland and savanna, and along dry watercourses.
Threats to this species are not well known. Only four of the six known localities have precise enough locality descriptions to be mapped with relatively high confidence, and at all four these localities the natural vegetation is extensively transformed to crop fields, which has resulted in severe fragmentation of the natural vegetation in these areas. Around Klerksdorp it is also likely to be threatened by habitat loss to urban expansion and mining. Around Pretoria and Vereeniging it is possibly locally extinct due to habitat loss to urban expansion.

Hilliard (1981, 1983) remarked that this species is rare and seldom collected. There is only one recent collection (dating from 2008), with a small number of other collections from the 1970s and earlier. A recent survey of the rare, endangered and endemic flora of North West Province did not relocate this species at any of the localities known through historical records (Hahn 2013). This species is rather cryptic and may be overlooked, but the lack of records is concerning, as it occurs in an area with high levels of human impact and disturbance. It is possibly somewhat resilient to disturbance - the type collection was made on cultivated lands - and so population trends cannot be confidently inferred from trends in habitat loss and degradation. More field surveys are needed to relocate subpopulations, as well as monitoring of population trends.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Gnaphalium nelsonii Burtt DavyNT B1ab(iii)2017.1
Gnaphalium nelsonii Burtt DavyRare Raimondo et al. (2009)
Gnaphalium nelsonii Burtt DavyData Deficient Victor (2002)

Hahn, N. 2013. Rare, endangered and endemic flora of the North West Province. Unpublished Report to the Department of Economic Development, Conservation and Tourism, North West Provincial Government.

Hilliard, O.M. 1981. Gnaphalium (Compositae) in Africa and Madagascar. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 82(3):267-292.

Hilliard, O.M. 1983. Gnaphaliinae (First Part). In: O.A. Leistner (ed). Flora of Southern Africa 33 Asteraceae, Part 7 Inuleae, Fascicle 2:1-325. 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.

von Staden, L. 2016. Gnaphalium nelsonii Burtt Davy. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2020/07/09

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Distribution map

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