Scientific Name
Albuca ovata (Thunb.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt
Higher Classification
Ornithogalum ovatum Thunb., Ornithogalum ovatum Thunb. subsp. oliverorum U.Müll.-Doblies & D.Müll.-Doblies
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
A poorly known and taxonomically problematic species, known from only six collections. It is however widespread (EOO 12 326 km²) and from a botanically poorly explored part of South Africa and therefore likely to be overlooked. It is not suspected to be rare or threatened.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape, Western Cape
Brandvlei to the Bokkeveld Plateau and Sutherland.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Nama Karoo, Succulent Karoo
Stony slopes and flats.
Severe overgrazing is a threat to many plant species in the Roggeveld area. Müller-Doblies and Müller-Doblies (1996) however cite a number of collections from overgrazed areas, indicating that this species is probably unpalatable (many species are also toxic to livestock) and is able to survive the disturbance of overgrazing.
Population trend
A very poorly known and taxonomically problematic species. It was originally described as Ornithogalum ovatum, and in Baker's first revision of the genus (Baker 1897) it was known only from Thunberg's collection from an unspecified locality in South Africa. The species was overlooked by Leighton (1945) and treated as a synonym of Ornithogalum unifolium by Obermeyer (1978). Müller-Doblies and Müller-Doblies (1996) reinstated the name, and in the most recent classification of the Ornithogaloideae (Manning et al. 2009) the species was upheld but transferred to Albuca. Müller-Doblies and Müller-Doblies (1996) describe quite a wide distribution range based on their own collections, however, no material of this species is available in South African herbaria, and thus it remains poorly known and difficult to identify.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Ornithogalum ovatum Thunb. subsp. oliverorum U.& D.Müll.-DobliesLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)
Ornithogalum ovatum Thunb. subsp. ovatum Least Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Baker, J.G. 1897. Liliaceae. In: W.T. Thiselton-Dyer (ed). Flora Capensis VI (Haemodoraceae to Liliaceae):253-528. L. Reeve & Co., London.

Leighton, F.M. 1945. A revision of the South African species of Ornithogalum L. Part III. Journal of South African Botany 11:135-185.

Manning, J.C., Forest, F., Devey, D.S., Fay, M.F. and Goldblatt, P. 2009. A molecular phylogeny and revised classification of Ornithogaloideae (Hyacinthaceae) based on an analysis of four plastid DNA regions. Taxon 58(1):77-107.

Müller-Doblies, U. and Müller-Doblies, D. 1996. Revisionula incompleta Ornithogalorum Austro-Africanorum (Hyacinthaceae). Feddes Repertorium 107(5-6):361-548.

Obermeyer, A.A. 1978. Ornithogalum: a revision of the southern African species. Bothalia 12(3):323-376.

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.

von Staden, L. 2012. Albuca ovata (Thunb.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/01/19

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Distribution map

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