Bashful Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea pudens Rourke
Higher Classification
Protea minor in sense of Compton (in part), excluding type
Common Names
Bashful Sugarbush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, D. Raimondo & L. von Staden
Protea pudens is a restricted endemic to South Africa's Agulhas Plain region. This species has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 175 km² and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 76 km², habitat degradation as a result of invasive alien woody plants at four known locations is causing a continuing decline. This species has also lost more than half of its former habitat to crop cultivation in the past. It is therefore listed as Endangered under criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
This species is known from Elim flats and the Agulhas Plain, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Elim Ferricrete Fynbos
It occurs in heavy sandy-clay soils, 30-40 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 pollinated by birds.
A total of 55% of this species' habitat has been lost to crop cultivation (cereals, pasture, protea orchards), most of this ploughing of habitat took place prior to 1990 and is no longer ongoing. Invasive alien plant species specifically Acacia species and Eucalyptus occur at all remaining locations and are rapidly spreading, causing ongoing severe habitat degradation. This species is used in the cut flower industry but it is unknown if flower picking is causing a population decline, most wildflower harvesting is well managed in the region and this is not considered a significant threat.

This species is known from four subpopulations, three have fewer than 1000 plants but one that occurs on Elim hill is large and consists of several thousand plants. Decline to the population as a result of habitat degradation from invasive plant species is ongoing.

Population trend
Elim Nature Reserve protects the westernmost subpopulation. It is vulnerable to harvesting for the cut flower trade and as it has a highly sensitive life history, harvesting is not allowed (Privett et al. 2005).
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea pudens RourkeEN B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)c(iv)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)c(iv)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Protea pudens RourkeEndangered 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.

Privett, S., Bailey, R., Raimondo, D., Kirkwood, D. and Euston-Brown, D. 2005. A vulnerability index for rare and harvested plant species on the Agulhas Plain. Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

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., Raimondo, D. & von Staden, L. 2020. Protea pudens Rourke. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/04/17

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Distribution map

© C. Paterson-Jones

© I. Ebrahim

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