Scientific Name
Eucomis bicolor Baker
Higher Classification
Common Names
Bontpynappelblom (a), Bospynappellelie (a), Imbola (z), Kxampumpu-ya-thaba (ss), Pineapple Flower (e), Umbola (z)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened A2d
Assessment Date
V.L. Williams, D. Raimondo, N.R. Crouch, A.B. Cunningham, C.R. Scott-Shaw, M. Lötter, A.M. Ngwenya & L. von Staden
Collected for the traditional medicinal trade, however most populations are well protected within inaccessible areas in the high Drakensberg along the KwaZulu-Natal-Lesotho border. Believed to have declined by 20% in the last 75 years.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Free State, KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Lesotho.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Forest, Grassland
Well-drained, grassy mountain slopes, sometimes in forests, along watercourses and on rocky cliffs, generally at higher altitudes up to 2800 m.
Bulbs are collected for medicinal use. Mervyn Lotter believes this species is threatened by collecting in Mpumalanga, and this species is listed as Near Threatened on the Mpumalanga Provincial list of threatened species, probably due to the fact that this species was listed among the top traded at the Bushbuckridge Market in Mpumalanga (Mander 1997). Neil Crouch believes this may have been a mistake as E. bicolor is not common in Mpumalanga and unlikely to be traded in large volumes. It may be that Mander did not grow the bulbs found in the market to detect their identity, but rather just used taxa identified in other studies (quite likely Cunningham 1988) as all Eucomis taxa tend to be known by the same name among traders (N. Crouch pers. comm.). The species was cited as present in the Durban markets by Cunningham (1988), and 224 bags were estimated to be sold annually in the region. It was also present in the Johannesburg muthi markets (Williams 2007). Recent research and observations by N.R. Crouch, V.L. Williams and V. Brueton (in 2007/2008) seem to indicate that E. bicolor is more prevalent in the Johannesburg markets than the once common E. autumnalis. Many samples of Eucomis were purchased from traders in the market, and E. bicolor and E. humilis were more prevalent than E. autumnalis. However, according to Neil Crouch this species is still relatively common within the protected areas in the high Drakensberg along the KwaZulu-Natal-Lesotho border, where the distance from the main muthi markets (Durban and Gauteng) as well as the inaccessibility of many individuals on cliff ledges mean that this species is not as heavily targeted for collection as some of the other Eucomis species. Neil Crouch believes that collecting has a very small impact on this species and that the risk of extinction of this species is quite low (pers. comm. 2007). The participants of the Medicinal Plant Red List Workshop (14-15/01/2008, SANBI, Durban) felt, however, that there had probably been a 20% decline in the population in the lasts three generations (60 years).
Population trend
Most of the population is conserved within the chain of protected areas along the Lesotho-KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg border, where it is still quite common and do not appear to be heavily impacted by harvesters (N. Crouch pers. comm.).
Used in traditional medicine to treat colic (Pooley 2005).
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Eucomis bicolor BakerNT A2dRaimondo et al. (2009)

Cunningham, A.B. 1988. An investigation of the herbal medicine trade in Natal/KwaZulu. Investigational Report No. 29. Institute of Natural Resources, Pietermaritzburg.

Mander, M. 1997. Medicinal plant marketing in Bushbuckridge and Mpumalanga: a market survey and recommended strategies for sustaining the supply plants in the region. Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development, Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Strandgade.

Pooley, E. 2003. Mountain flowers: a field guide to the flora of the Drakensberg and Lesotho. Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.

Pooley, E. 2005. A field guide to wild flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.

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.

Reyneke, W.F. 1972. 'n Monografiese studie van die genus Eucomis L'Herit. in Suid-Afrika. Unpublished M.Sc., University of Pretoria, Pretoria.

Williams, V.L. 2007. The design of a risk assessment model to determine the impact of the herbal medicine trade on the Witwatersrand on resources of indigenous plant species. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Williams, V.L., Raimondo, D., Crouch, N.R., Cunningham, A.B., Scott-Shaw, C.R., Lötter, M., Ngwenya, A.M. & von Staden, L. 2008. Eucomis bicolor Baker. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2018/04/23

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Distribution map

© L. von Staden

© L. von Staden

© L. von Staden

© J.E. Burrows

© J.E. Burrows

© C. Grant

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