Oilbract Conebush

Scientific Name
Leucadendron microcephalum (Gand.) Gand. & Schinz
Higher Classification
Leucadendron stokoei E.Phillips
Common Names
Oilbract Conebush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Leucadendron microcephalum is a range-restricted (Extent of Occurrence 5287 km²), but locally abundant species. The threat of alien invasive plants is increasing across most of its range, and may lead to population decline if left unmanaged.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Leucadendron microcephalum has a narrow distribution range in the mountains of the southwestern part of the Western Cape, where it occurs from Du Toit's Kloof to Kogelberg, Kleinrivier and Riviersonderend mountains, with an isolated population on the Caledon Swartberg.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
South Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, North Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, Overberg Sandstone Fynbos, Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos, Hawequas Sandstone Fynbos
It occurs in stony sandstone soils in montane fynbos, 50-1600 m. Mature individuals are killed by fires, and only seeds survive. Wind-dispersed seeds are stored in fire-resistant inflorescences, and released after fires. It is dioecious, with insect-pollinated male and female flowers occurring on separate plants.
This species has lost habitat to timber plantations in the past, but plantations are no longer expanding, and in many places they are being phased out, and therefore this threat has ceased. Alien invasive plants, particularly escaped pine seedlings however continue to spread and increase in density in the Du Toit's Kloof, Riviersonderend, Groenlandberg, Caledon Swartberg as well as parts of the Kleinrivier Mountains. If these are not urgently cleared, they are likely to outcompete native species such as Leucadendron microcephalum in future.

This species is known from at least 50 large, dense subpopulations, with several consisting of thousands of individuals. The population is not currently suspected to be declining, but may do so in the future if alien invasive plants are allowed to continue to spread within its habitat.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Leucadendron microcephalum (Gand.) Gand. & SchinzLeast 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.

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.

Rebelo, T. 2001. Sasol Proteas: A field guide to the proteas of southern Africa. (2nd ed.). Fernwood Press, Vlaeberg, Cape Town.

Rebelo, A.G., Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2019. Leucadendron microcephalum (Gand.) Gand. & Schinz. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/01/23

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

Search for images of Leucadendron microcephalum on iNaturalist