Escarpment Pincushion

Scientific Name
Leucospermum saxosum S.Moore
Higher Classification
Common Names
Escarpment Pincushion (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered D
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
In South Africa, the national population consists of fewer than 250 plants in three locations, which may not be viable in the long term due to its small size. It is isolated from the Chimanimani subpopulations (Zimbabwe) by >500 km and the national assessment is therefore not adjusted following IUCN guidelines for regional assessments. The national population represents less than 5% of the global population and is potentially threatened due to the fragmentation of its habitat by forestry plantations.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga and Limpopo Drakensberg Escarpment. Also occurs in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Northern Escarpment Afromontane Fynbos, Northern Escarpment Quartzite Sourveld
This species is common on quartzite outcrops. It is a long-lived species, and survives fires by resprouting from underground boles or rootstocks. 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.
The subpopulations in South Africa are small in size and isolated due to afforestation. The remaining species' habitat is likely to be degraded by lack of fire and invasion by escaping pine seedlings.

Leucospermum saxosum is rare in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces in South Africa, and locally abundant in Mozambique and Zimbabwe (Burrows et al. 2018). Currently, there are four known subpopulations. Rourke (1972) doubted the record in Barberton, but this has been confirmed by a new observation in iNaturalist uploaded in 2013.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Leucospermum saxosum S.MooreEN DRaimondo et al. (2009)
Leucospermum saxosum S.MooreRare Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Leucospermum saxosum S.MooreRare Hall et al. (1980)

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. and Schmidt, E. 2018. Trees and shrubs Mozambique. Publishing Print Matters, Cape Town.

Hall, A.V., De Winter, M., De Winter, B. and Van Oosterhout, S.A.M. 1980. Threatened plants of southern Africa. South African National Scienctific Programmes Report 45. CSIR, Pretoria.

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. Leucospermum saxosum S.Moore. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2021/10/19

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

© S.P. Fourie

© J.E. Burrows

© J.E. Burrows

Search for images of Leucospermum saxosum on iNaturalist