Scientific Name
Xerophyta purpurascens Behnke
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Data Deficient - Taxonomically Problematic
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & J.E. Burrows
A poorly known species that is difficult to distinguish from Xerophyta villosa. More surveys are needed to better delineate the extent of the population as well as its relationship with X. villosa, and until then, its risk of extinction cannot be assessed.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Mountains north of Tzaneen, and the Drakensberg Escarpment south-east of Lydenburg.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Rocky, quartzite derived soils in montane grassland.
At both known locations, montane grasslands have been extensively modified to commercial timber plantations, and it is likely that this species has declined due to habitat loss in the past, and may continue to do so. One recent collection is from a well-managed private nature reserve, and this subpopulation is not threatened. The only other location is known from a very old record about 180 km further north, with imprecise locality information, and which may already be locally extinct due to habitat loss to plantations.

This species is known from only two, highly disjunct locations. More surveys are needed to determine whether there are any subpopulations in the intervening areas, particularly in the Wolkberg Mountain range, where similar suitable habitat occurs. In the absence of good survey data on the size and extent of the population, this species' risk of extinction is difficult to assess.

Population trend
This species is difficult to distinguish from X. villosa. Within Buffelskloof Nature Reserve, there are intermediate forms that cannot be easily assigned to either taxon (J.E. Burrows pers. comm. 2014).
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Xerophyta purpurascens BehnkeData Deficient (Taxonomically Problematic) 2014.1

Behnke, H.D., Hummel, E., Hillmer, S., Sauer-Gürth, H., Gonzalez, J. and Wink, M. 2013. A revision of African Velloziaceae based on leaf anatomy characters and rbcL nucleotide sequences. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 172(1):22-94.

von Staden, L. & Burrows, J.E. 2014. Xerophyta purpurascens Behnke. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/06/14

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Distribution map

© N.R. Crouch

© N.R. Crouch

© N.R. Crouch

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