Acanthopsis nitida

Scientific Name
Acanthopsis nitida H.M.Steyn
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable D2
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & H.M. Steyn
A range-restricted species (EOO 42 km²), known from three locations and potentially threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to mining and overgrazing.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
Namaqualand escarpment west of Steinkopf.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Anenous Plateau Shrubland, Kosiesberg Succulent Shrubland
Well-drained sandy soils on stony mountain slopes, 690-1100 m.
There are currently no severe threats to this species. It occurs in a remote area and most suitable habitat within its distribution range is still intact. The area is used predominantly for livestock grazing, and in some areas, particularly close to settlements, overstocking of communal rangelands have led to a loss of shrub cover and plant species diversity. This species however occurs in montane areas where grazing pressure is currently low. As rangelands closer to settlements are becoming increasingly degraded, herders need to move their stock further into remote areas, and this species may become at risk. It is also potentially threatened by habitat loss to mining. There has been renewed interest in mining in the area, but currently there are no mining applications on the areas where it is known to occur.

This species is known from only three scattered subpopulations within a small area. It is possible that more, as yet undiscovered subpopulations exist, as it occurs in a remote area, and large areas of suitable habitat is not accessible by road. As there are currently no severe threats, the population is not suspected to be declining.

Population trend

Steyn, H.M. and Van Wyk, A.E. 2017. Taxonomic notes on Acanthopsis (Acanthaceae, tribe Acantheae): the group with semi-dense spikes and 5-fid bracts. Phytotaxa 324(2):101-121.

von Staden, L. & Steyn, H.M. 2017. Acanthopsis nitida H.M.Steyn. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/08

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Distribution map

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