Karoo Conebush

Scientific Name
Leucadendron nobile I.Williams
Higher Classification
Common Names
Karoo Conebush (e), Naaldblaar-tolbos (a), Tolbos (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Leucadendron nobile has a restricted distribution range, with an Extent of Occurrence of 6583 km². It is however fairly common across its habitat, and as there is no evidence of ongoing habitat loss or population decline, it is not in danger of extinction.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape
Leucadendron nobile has a limited distribution range in the Eastern Cape, where it occurs in the Grootrivier, Baviaanskloof and Kouga mountains.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Kouga Grassy Sandstone Fynbos, Kouga Sandstone Fynbos, Grootrivier Quartzite Fynbos
It occurs in gravelly or sandy soils in dry montane fynbos, 300-1500 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.
As a reseeder, this species is vulnerable to too frequent fire, as well as too infrequent fire. Too infrequent fire is likely to occur in areas where fynbos is predicted to be replaced by thicket vegetation under global climate change. At present, these are still potential threats, as no loss of subpopulations due to changing fire cycles has yet been observed.

This species was thought to be rare and localized in the past, but this was due to its habitat being poorly explored. During the Protea Atlas Project, around 45 subpopulations were recorded. Towards the eastern end of this species' range subpopulations become smaller and more isolated, as fynbos is replaced by thicket vegetation. As it has no severe threats, it is not suspected to be declining, but monitoring is needed.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Leucadendron nobile I.WilliamsLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)
Leucadendron nobile I.WilliamsRare Hilton-Taylor (1996)

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.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African 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.

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 nobile I.Williams. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/01/23

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Distribution map

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