Overberg Pincushion

Scientific Name
Leucospermum oleifolium (P.J.Bergius) R.Br.
Higher Classification
Leucospermum crinitum (Thunb.) R.Br.
Common Names
Matches (e), Overberg Pincushion (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Leucospermum oleifolium has a restricted range, with an Extent of Occurrence of 4052 km², and an Area of Occupancy of 664 km². It is common across its range, and occurs at more than 10 locations. A continuing decline is inferred from spreading alien invasive plants that are increasing in density to such an extent that they are outcompeting native species in many parts of this species' range. It therefore nearly meets the thresholds for Vulnerable under criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Leucospermum oleifolium is endemic to a small area in the mountains of the southwestern Western Cape. It occurs from the Slanghoek Mountains south of Bain's Kloof Pass to the mountains above Hangklip and Betty's Bay. It also occurs in the Riviersonderend Mountains and 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, Hangklip Sand Fynbos
It occurs in sandy soil in montane sandstone fynbos, 0-1000 m. Mature individuals are killed by fires, and only seeds survive. Seeds are released after ripening, and dispersed by ants to their underground nests, where they are protected from predation and fire. It is pollinated by birds.
A very small proportion (8%) of this species' habitat was lost to timber plantations in the past. There is no significant ongoing habitat loss, and most of this species' habitat is now formally protected. Timber plantations are however a major source of alien invasive plants, particularly escaped pine seedlings that are invading surrounding native vegetation, and outcompeting native species when they become dense. Escaped pines have been spreading rapidly up the southern slopes of the Riviersonderend Mountains over the past 15 years. Over large areas of the southern slopes, pines are now impenetrable, and continue to spread across to the northern slopes, which were entirely free of alien invasive plants previously. Pines are also spreading in the Franschhoek Mountains, around Du Toit's Kloof and in the Hottentots Holland Mountains around Steenbras Dam. The Caledon Swartberg is also densely invaded with pines, and natural fynbos is becoming increasingly degraded, leading to declines of rare and localized native species.

Leucospermum oleifolium is a common species. Subpopulations in the mountains between Gordon's Bay and Betty's Bay are dense and extensive. Elsewhere it occurs in small, scattered subpopulations. It is suspected to be declining in the Riviersonderend Mountains and on the Caledon Swartberg, where alien invasive plant infestations are extensive and severe. Subpopulations in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, where this species is most abundant, are however stable.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Leucospermum oleifolium (P.J.Bergius) R.Br.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.

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. Pincushions and allies. Protea Atlas Project: Interim distribution map: Cape edition 3 2:1-37.

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

Rourke, J.P. 1972. Taxonomic studies on Leucospermum R.Br. Journal of South African Botany Supplement 8:1-194.

Rebelo, A.G., Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2019. Leucospermum oleifolium (P.J.Bergius) R.Br. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/08

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Distribution map

© D. van der Colff

© Outramps

© I. Ebrahim

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