Harts-tongue-fern Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea scolopendriifolia (Salisb. ex Knight) Rourke
Higher Classification
Protea scolopodendrium R.Br.
Common Names
Harts-tongue-fern Sugarbush (e), Tongblaar (a), Tongblaarprotea (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea scolopendriifolia is a widespread species, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 50 341 km². Although there are threats affecting this species, most subpopulations are in protected areas, and therefore this species is assessed as Least Concern.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Western Cape
This species occurs from the Cederberg to Kogelberg and eastwards along the Riviersonderend Mountains, Langeberg and Swartberg to the Kouga Mountains in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces, South Africa.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Swartberg Shale Fynbos, Hawequas Sandstone Fynbos, Matjiesfontein Quartzite Fynbos, Swartruggens Quartzite Fynbos, Montagu Shale Fynbos, Elgin Shale Fynbos, Northern Inland Shale Band Vegetation, Breede Shale Fynbos, South Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, Matjiesfontein Shale Fynbos, Kouebokkeveld Shale Fynbos, Boland Granite Fynbos, Central Coastal Shale Band Vegetation, Central Inland Shale Band Vegetation, Western Coastal Shale Band Vegetation, Cape Winelands Shale Fynbos, Kouga Sandstone Fynbos, Matjiesfontein Shale Renosterveld, Kango Conglomerate Fynbos, South Hex Sandstone Fynbos, Winterhoek Sandstone Fynbos, Cederberg Sandstone Fynbos, Swartberg Altimontane Sandstone Fynbos, North Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, Olifants Sandstone Fynbos, North Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, South Kammanassie Sandstone Fynbos, North Kammanassie Sandstone Fynbos, South Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos, Tsitsikamma Sandstone Fynbos, Montagu Shale Renosterveld, Western Altimontane Sandstone Fynbos
It is most common on montane shale bands, rarely on sandstone, 450-2000 m. It is a long-lived species, and survives fires by resprouting from underground stems. Wind-dispersed seeds are stored in fire-resistant inflorescences, and released after fires. It is pollinated by birds.
Recent field observations indicate that alien invasive plants are spreading into this species' habitat in the Riviersonderend, Langeberg and Swartberg mountains. It is also threatened by harvesting for the cut-flower industry. Both of the above impacts are not however severe and are not suspected to be causing the overall population to decline.

This species is found scattered in suitable habitats throughout its range. Subpopulations are very large, and are currently not suspected to be declining.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea scolopendriifolia (Salisb. ex Knight) RourkeLeast 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 scolopendriifolia (Salisb. ex Knight) Rourke. 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

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