Asparagus fractiflexus

Scientific Name
Asparagus fractiflexus (Oberm.) Fellingham & N.L.Mey.
Higher Classification
Protasparagus fractiflexus Oberm.
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered A2c; B1ab(iii)
Assessment Date
J.E. Burrows, M. Lötter, S.M. Burrows, D. Raimondo & L. von Staden
An extremely rare species from southern Mpumalanga, recorded only four times. Around 80% of its habitat in some parts of its range was transformed around the 1940-50s, which is within the last three generations of this long-lived, resprouter (generation length 50 years). An overall 50% decline across the range is suspected. The open areas between plantations, which served as fire breaks and were important refugia, are now being planted up, causing ongoing loss of habitat.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Between Carolina and Badplaas to Wakkerstroom.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
KaNgwane Montane Grassland, Wakkerstroom Montane Grassland
High altitude, open grasslands, on rocky outcrops or among boulders.
One small known remaining subpopulation was found in an area surrounded by plantations. It is estimated that about 80% of habitat in this area was transformed around the 1940-50s, which is within the last three generations of this long-lived resprouter. The generation length of Asparagus is around 50 years (J.E. Burrows pers. comm. 2006). The open areas between plantations, which in the past served as fire breaks and are important refugia, are now being planted up (J.E. Burrows and S.M. Burrows pers. obs.). It is probably threatened by alien invasive species and coal mining at the other localities, but these have not been monitored recently. It is known from an imprecise record from the Ermelo district, and it is difficult to infer threats and whether the species is extant or extinct in this area, but the type locality (Oshoek) should still be extant.
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Asparagus fractiflexus (Oberm.) Fellingham & N.L.Mey.EN A2c; B1ab(iii)Raimondo et al. (2009)

Burrows, S.M. In prep. Revision of Asparagus.

Obermeyer, A.A. and Immelman, K.L. 1992. Protasparagus. In: O.A. Leistner (ed). Flora of southern Africa 5 Part 3 Dracenaceae, Asparagaceae, Luzuriagaceae and Smilacaceae:11-70. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

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.

Burrows, J.E., Lötter, M., Burrows, S.M., Raimondo, D. & von Staden, L. 2006. Asparagus fractiflexus (Oberm.) Fellingham & N.L.Mey. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2019/06/19

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Distribution map

© J.E. Burrows

© J.E. Burrows

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