Pygmy Porkbush

Scientific Name
Portulacaria pygmaea Pillans
Higher Classification
Ceraria pygmaea (Pillans) G.D.Rowley
Common Names
Pygmy Porkbush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & P.C.V. Van Wyk
A range-restricted species (EOO 1196 km²), known from five locations in South Africa and declining due to habitat destruction and degradation as well as collecting for the horticultural trade.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
Lower Gariep Valley in the Richtersveld and southern Namibia.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Western Gariep Hills Desert, Western Gariep Lowland Desert, Noms Mountain Desert
Low hills and quartz flats.
Around Sendelingsdrif it is threatened by ongoing habitat loss and degradation due to open-cast mining. Dust blowing from exposed mining sites is particularly detrimental to the quartz field habitat of this species, burying surface quartz pebbles and destroying the micro-habitat required by many dwarf succulents to survive. The impact of this degradation can extend for several kilometres beyond the borders of the mining site. Between Alexander Bay and Sendelingsdrif it is also threatened by ongoing habitat degradation, erosion and trampling as a result of severe overstocking of rangelands with livestock. This species is popular with succulent collectors, and field observations indicate that mature individuals are often taken from the wild.

A rare and localized species in South Africa, and declining across its range. It is also rare in Namibia, but may be under-sampled as its habitat remains botanically relatively poorly explored.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Portulacaria pygmaea PillansEN B1ab(iii,v)2015.1
Ceraria pygmaea (Pillans) G.D.RowleyLeast Concern 2011.1

Bruyns, P.V., Oliveira-Neto, M., Melo-de-Pinna, G.F. and Klak, C. 2014. Phylogenetic relationships in the Didiereaceae with special reference to subfamily Portulacarioideae. Taxon 63(5):1053-1064.

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

von Staden, L. & Van Wyk, P.C.V. 2015. Portulacaria pygmaea Pillans. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/08/16

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Distribution map

© L. von Staden

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