Common Shuttlecock Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea aurea (Burm.f.) Rourke subsp. aurea
Higher Classification
Protea longiflora Lam., Protea longiflora Lam. var. ovalis E.Phillips
Common Names
Common Shuttlecock Sugarbush (e), Geel Suikerbos (a), Geel Suikerkan (a), Geelsuikerbos (a), Geelsuikerkan (a), Lang Suikerkan (a), Langknop-suikerbos (a), Long-bud Sugarbush (e), Shuttlecock Sugarbush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
This subspecies has a restricted range, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 7804 km², and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 772 km². Alien invasive plants, particularly escaped pine seedlings, continue to spread into its habitat and are causing ongoing decline to the populations. It is however still abundant across its range, occurring at more than 50 locations, and is therefore not in danger of becoming extinct and is listed as Least Concern.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
This subspecies is widespread and endemic to the Riviersonderend, Langeberg, and Outeniqua mountains, of the Western Cape Province, South Africa.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
South Outeniqua Sandstone Fynbos, North Outeniqua Sandstone Fynbos, South Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, South Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, North Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, Hawequas Sandstone Fynbos, Greyton Shale Fynbos, Breede Shale Fynbos, Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos
It occurs on cool, moist, south-facing slopes, at 200-1600 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.
This subspecies has lost about 11% of its habitat to fruit and protea orchards, pasture and timber on the lower slopes of the Outeniqua, Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountains in the past. However, this species extends to higher altitudes where it is relatively safe, so far not much habitat and subpopulations have been lost. Timber plantations are no longer expanding, and thus habitat loss has ceased, but plantations are a major source of invasive pine seedlings that are spreading into surrounding native vegetation. Field observations have noted inappropriate fire management and invasive species spreading in to this taxon's habitat at many localities. It is difficult to estimate the number of locations, as its habitat is largely continuous with differing densities of alien invasive plants present. This species will generally persist in its habitat until invasive plants reach a density of more than 80% of surface area cover. There are some localized ongoing clearing efforts, particularly within protected areas, but the extent is unknown. It is however certain that there are more than 50 locations.

This subspecies is social, and forms dense, impenetrable stands of individuals, and its subpopulations are extensive. Climate change and habitat loss modelling predicted that this subspecies will decline and become VU due to transformation and EN due to combined habitat transformation (under a high transformation scenario) and climate change (Bomhard et al. 2005), but such drastic population reductions have not yet occurred. Only a small proportion (1%) of habitat has been lost between 1990 and 2014. A continuing decline is inferred from competition from alien invasive plants that continue to spread and increase in density within its habitat.

Population trend
It occurs in more than 10 protected areas across its range.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea aurea (Burm.f.) Rourke subsp. aurea Least Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

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. 2020. Protea aurea (Burm.f.) Rourke subsp. aurea. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/04/17

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Distribution map

© D. Turner

© Outramps

© Outramps

© Outramps

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