Scientific Name
Acanthopsis spathularis (Nees) Schinz
Higher Classification
Acanthodium spathulare Nees, Acanthus spathularis E.Mey., Blepharis spathularis (Nees) Anderson
National Status
Status and Criteria
Assessment Date
H.M. Steyn & L. von Staden
A very rare, localized species, recently rediscovered after it was last collected in 1830. It is currently known from a single, small subpopulation that is not threatened. It is possible that other, still undiscovered subpopulations exist as the habitat is remote and still poorly explored.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
Namaqualand, Anenous Pass near Steinkopf.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Succulent Karoo
Sandy soils on mountain summits, 550-650 m.
There are no severe threats to this species at present. Its entire range falls within communally owned rangelands, which are overstocked with livestock. Parts of these rangelands are severely degraded due to overgrazing. This species has however been found in a very remote area where grazing pressure is low, and grazing does not appear to have a negative impact on the population.

This species was previously known only from the type collection, dating from 1830 at a locality that cannot be traced. It was recently rediscovered in a small area near Springbok. Subpopulations are small, consisting of about 100 plants. The population at present appears to be healthy and is not suspected to be declining. It is possibly more widespread as its habitat remains poorly explored.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Acanthopsis spathularis (E.Mey.) SchinzRare Raimondo et al. (2009)

Clarke, C.B. 1901. Acanthaceae. In: W.T. Thiselton-Dyer (ed). Flora Capensis V Section I (Acanthaceae-Proteaceae):1-92. Lovell Reeve & Co., Ltd., London.

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.

Snijman, D.A. 2013. Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region 2: The extra Cape flora. Strelitzia 30. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Steyn, H.M. and Van Wyk, A.E. 2016. Taxonomic notes on the shrublet species of Acanthopsis (Acanthaceae, tribe Acantheae), with two new species from South Africa. Phytotaxa 244(2):145-160.

Steyn, H.M. & von Staden, L. 2016. Acanthopsis spathularis (Nees) Schinz. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/01/26

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Distribution map

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