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Pondo Poison Pea

Scientific Name
Tephrosia pondoensis (Codd) Schrire
Higher Classification
Mundulea pondoensis Codd
Common Names
Baster-kurkbos (a), Pondo Poison Pea (e), Pondo-gifertjie (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(iii,v); C2a(i)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & A.T.D. Abbott
A range-restricted species (EOO 1250 km²), known from a few small, isolated subpopulations each consisting of <100 mature individuals. Total population is estimated not to exceed 2000 mature individuals. Subpopulations are severely fragmented and there is a continuing decline in the habitat quality and number of mature individuals as a result of too frequent fire, browsing by livestock and harvesting of firewood and wood for building materials.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
Oribi Gorge to the Msikaba River.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Northern Coastal Forest, Scarp Forest, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Belt Grassland
Pondoland scarp forest and adjacent grassland on sandstone, in forest margins, along drainage lines or on rocky outcrops, 300-600 m.
The main threats to Pondoland woody endemics restricted to forest margins are too frequent and intense grassland fires that are causing forest margins to recede (D. Styles; C.R. Scott-Shaw pers. obs.) as well as the indiscriminate harvesting of wood for fuel and building materials (T. Abbott pers. comm.). These threats are affecting forest margins mainly in the areas between Umtamvuna and Port St. Johns. Sub-populations around Ndindini above the Msikaba River gorge (type locality) where this species was last collected in 1970 need to be relocated to determine whether they are still extant. According to Scott-Shaw (1999), heavy browsing by cattle and goats is also affecting mature individuals.

Subpopulations are small, generally consisting of fewer than 100 mature individuals.

Population trend
Protected in Oribi Gorge and Umtamvuna Nature Reserves.
The only member of the genus Tephrosia with an arborescent habit, T. pondoensis is a robust tree up to 5 m tall. Other species of Tephrosia are generally herbs, suffrutices or small shrubs (Schrire 1991). Due to this unusual habit, the species was originally placed in the genus Mundulea by L.E. Codd (Codd 1979). Tephrosia pondoensis is also unusual in that it occurs in forests - other species of Tephrosia are generally found in savanna, bushveld, thornveld or grasslands (Schrire 1991).
von Staden, L. & Abbott, A.T.D. 2007. Tephrosia pondoensis (Codd) Schrire. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2019/11/12

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Distribution map

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