Ladismith Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea aristata E.Phillips
Higher Classification
Common Names
Ladismith Sugarbush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii); C2a(i)
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali, L. von Staden & J.H. Vlok
Protea aristata has a population of 6000-9755 mature individuals. Most subpopulations are small, consisting of only 10 plants, and the population is considered to be severely fragmented. The largest subpopulation in south of Seweweekpoort Pass has several hundred plants, but less than 1000 mature individuals. Monitoring indicates that there is continuing decline of this slow-maturing species due to too frequent fires and alien invasive plants in parts of the range. It is therefore listed as Vulnerable under criteria B and C.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
It is endemic to Klein Swartberg Mountains, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Swartberg Altimontane Sandstone Fynbos, South Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos
This species occurs on steep slopes and lower sandstone slopes, at 600-1500 m. Mature individuals are killed by fires, and only seeds survive. Seeds are not stored on the plant, but are released immediately after ripening, and are wind-dispersed. It is pollinated by birds.
At least 2% of this species' habitat has been lost between 1990 and 2014, however this loss has now ceased mainly because this species predominantly occurs on rocky slopes that are unsuitable for development. Most of its habitat is formally protected in Buffelspoort and Towerkop Nature Reserves. Alien invasive species have been observed in low densities. If these are not controlled, they are likely to increase in density and eventually outcompete this species. This slow maturing species is affected by too frequent fires, and it is declining in areas that are repeatedly burnt before plants reach reproductive maturity.

Plants are scattered in diffuse stands. The total population has an estimated 6000-9755 mature individuals as determined via surveys conducted between 1990 and 2001. Over 50% of subpopulations are small and have less than 10 plants. Ongoing decline is taking place due to the impacts of too frequent fires on this slow maturing species.

Population trend
It is conserved in the Buffelspoort and Towerkop Nature Reserves.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea aristata E.PhillipsVU C2a(i)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Protea aristata E.PhillipsRare 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.

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

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

Rebelo, A.G., Mtshali, H., von Staden, L. & Vlok, J.H. 2019. Protea aristata E.Phillips. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/04/17

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Distribution map

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© Outramps

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