Scientific Name
Asparagus lignosus Burm.f.
Higher Classification
Asparagus compactus T.M.Salter, Protasparagus compactus (T.M.Salter) Oberm., Protasparagus lignosus (Burm.f.) Oberm.
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened A2c
Assessment Date
S.M. Burrows & L. von Staden
Asparagus lignosus is a widespread species that has declined extensively across its range due to habitat loss and degradation. A population reduction of at least 20% over three generations is estimated based on rates of habitat loss between 1990 and 2014.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
This species is endemic to the Western Cape, where it occurs from Vanrhynsdorp to the southern Cape coast near Mossel Bay.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Saldanha Flats Strandveld, Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, Langebaan Dune Strandveld, Swartland Shale Renosterveld, Swartland Silcrete Renosterveld, Overberg Sandstone Fynbos, Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos, De Hoop Limestone Fynbos, Swartland Granite Renosterveld, Hangklip Sand Fynbos, Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos, Atlantis Sand Fynbos, Hopefield Sand Fynbos, Leipoldtville Sand Fynbos, Peninsula Granite Fynbos, Saldanha Granite Strandveld, Eastern Ruens Shale Renosterveld, Saldanha Limestone Strandveld, Hartenbos Strandveld, Cape Lowland Alluvial Vegetation, Western Coastal Shale Band Vegetation, Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos, Klawer Sandy Shrubland, Namaqualand Spinescent Grassland, Vanrhynsdorp Gannabosveld, Overberg Dune Strandveld, Agulhas Sand Fynbos, Albertinia Sand Fynbos, Potberg Sandstone Fynbos, Potberg Ferricrete Fynbos, Peninsula Shale Renosterveld, Peninsula Shale Fynbos, Agulhas Limestone Fynbos, Lambert's Bay Strandveld, Canca Limestone Fynbos, Mossel Bay Shale Renosterveld, Gamka Valley Thicket, Namaqualand Strandveld, Swartland Alluvium Renosterveld, Western Ruens Shale Renosterveld, Ruens Silcrete Renosterveld, Elim Ferricrete Fynbos
It occurs on coastal flats and rocky lower slopes.
This species has historically lost >50% of its habitat to crop cultivation, urban expansion and coastal development. It is now rarely encountered in small habitat remnants, where it continues to be threatened by ongoing habitat loss and degradation, particularly due to spreading alien invasive plants and overstocking of small renosterveld remnants, which leads to overgrazing.

This species is now quite rare over most of its range in the Western Cape (S.M. Burrows pers. obs.). A population reduction of at least 20% over three generations (60 years) is estimated based on rates of ongoing habitat loss.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Asparagus lignosus Burm.f.Least Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Manning, J.C. and Goldblatt, P. 2012. Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region 1: The Core Cape Flora. Strelitzia 29. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

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.

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

Vlok, J. and Schutte-Vlok, A.L. 2010. Plants of the Klein Karoo. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.

Burrows, S.M. & von Staden, L. 2018. Asparagus lignosus Burm.f. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/04

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Distribution map

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

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