Scientific Name
Protea repens (L.) L.
Higher Classification
Protea mellifera Thunb., Protea mellifera Thunb. var. albiflora Andrews
Common Names
Bierbos (a), Common Sugarbush (e), Isiquane (x), Mebos (a), Opregte Suikerbos (a), Perdebos (a), Real Sugarbush (e), Soetsopbos (a), Stroopbos (a), Stroopbossie (a), Sugar Protea (e), Sugarbush (e), Suikerbos (a), Suikerkan (a), Tulpboom (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea repens is widespread, common and not in danger of extinction. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape
This species has a wide distribution in the Cape provinces of South Africa, occurring from the Bokkeveld Escarpment to the Cape Peninsula and eastwards across the mountains of the Cape Floristic Region to the Soetwaterberg east of Grahamstown.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Elgin Shale Fynbos, Peninsula Granite Fynbos, Kouebokkeveld Shale Fynbos, Suurberg Shale Fynbos, Peninsula Shale Fynbos, Matjiesfontein Shale Fynbos, Swartberg Shale Fynbos, Swartruggens Quartzite Fynbos, Cape Winelands Shale Fynbos, Elim Ferricrete Fynbos, Greyton Shale Fynbos, Montagu Shale Fynbos, Garden Route Shale Fynbos, Agulhas Limestone Fynbos, De Hoop Limestone Fynbos, Grahamstown Grassland Thicket, Breede Shale Fynbos, Hopefield Sand Fynbos, Hartenbos Dune Thicket, Kouebokkeveld Alluvium Fynbos, Breede Alluvium Fynbos, Swartland Alluvium Fynbos, Central Coastal Shale Band Vegetation, Eastern Inland Shale Band Vegetation, Boland Granite Fynbos, Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos, Potberg Ferricrete Fynbos, Atlantis Sand Fynbos, Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, Hangklip Sand Fynbos, Agulhas Sand Fynbos, Breede Sand Fynbos, Albertinia Sand Fynbos, Matjiesfontein Quartzite Fynbos, Eastern Coastal Shale Band Vegetation, Winterhoek Sandstone Fynbos, South Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Kammanassie Sandstone Fynbos, South Kammanassie Sandstone Fynbos, Kouga Sandstone Fynbos, Kouga Grassy Sandstone Fynbos, Algoa Sandstone Fynbos, Canca Limestone Fynbos, Cederberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Rooiberg Sandstone Fynbos, Piketberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Hex Sandstone Fynbos, South Hex Sandstone Fynbos, Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos, Kango Conglomerate Fynbos, Loerie Conglomerate Fynbos, Olifants Sandstone Fynbos, South Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, Breede Quartzite Fynbos, Grootrivier Quartzite Fynbos, Suurberg Quartzite Fynbos, Bokkeveld Sandstone Fynbos, Hawequas Sandstone Fynbos, Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, South Rooiberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, South Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, Potberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Outeniqua Sandstone Fynbos, South Outeniqua Sandstone Fynbos, Tsitsikamma Sandstone Fynbos, Swartland Granite Renosterveld, Overberg Sandstone Fynbos
It is found in extremely variable habitat, it mostly occurs on the flats, coastal forelands, lower and middle mountain slopes. It can be found scattered in between the other fynbos plants. 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.
This common Protea is extensively grown and there is probably significant genetic contamination by extensive planting of protea orchards adjacent to natural populations without regard to genotype or pollen movement. Other threats affecting this species include wild flower harvesting as it used in the cut-flower trade, and competition from alien invasive plant species. Furthermore, it has been used for centuries as a source of firewood.

This is the most abundant sugarbush in the Cape Flora, found in dense stands or as scattered plants (Rebelo, 2001). Despite some threats, the population is considered stable.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea repens (L.) L.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. 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. 2019. Protea repens (L.) L. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/04/17

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Distribution map

© D. Turner

© D. Turner

© D. Turner

© C. Merry

© C. Merry

© C. Merry

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© Outramps

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