Dwarf Grassveld Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea simplex E.Phillips
Higher Classification
Protea doddii E.Phillips, Protea flanaganii E.Phillips, Protea transvaalensis E.Phillips
Common Names
Dwarf Grassveld Sugarbush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea simplex is a ground protea that is widespread in the eastern parts of South Africa, extending to Eswatini, it has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 260 559 km². While it has lost extensive amounts of habitat in the past to afforestation, existing threats are unlikely to cause the population to decline severely in the near future. Therefore it is listed as Least Concern.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga
This species is widespread across eastern South Africa, from the Eastern Cape Drakensberg to the Wolkberg in Limpopo. It also in occurs in western Eswatini (Swaziland).
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Woodbush Granite Grassland, Pondoland-Ugu Sandstone Coastal Sourveld, Transkei Coastal Belt, Amathole Montane Grassland, Amathole Mistbelt Grassland, Southern Drakensberg Highland Grassland, Northern Drakensberg Highland Grassland, Drakensberg-Amathole Afromontane Fynbos, uKhahlamba Basalt Grassland, Lesotho Highland Basalt Grassland, Wakkerstroom Montane Grassland, Paulpietersburg Moist Grassland, KaNgwane Montane Grassland, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Belt Grassland, Northern Escarpment Quartzite Sourveld, KwaZulu-Natal Sandstone Sourveld, Strydpoort Summit Sourveld, Northern Zululand Mistbelt Grassland, Drakensberg Foothill Moist Grassland, East Griqualand Grassland, Dry Coast Hinterland Grassland, Ithala Quartzite Sourveld, Moist Coast Hinterland Grassland, Low Escarpment Moist Grassland, Northern KwaZulu-Natal Moist Grassland, KwaZulu-Natal Highland Thornveld, Mooi River Highland Grassland, Midlands Mistbelt Grassland, KwaZulu-Natal Hinterland Thornveld, Barberton Montane Grassland
It grows on grassland escarpments and is a long-lived species, and survives fires by resprouting from underground boles or rootstocks. Wind-dispersed seeds are not stored on the plant, and are released immediately after ripening. It is pollinated by birds.
Protea simplex has lost 38% of its habitat in the past due to timber plantations around Ngome, Karkloof, southern KwaZulu-Natal and Eswatini. There is no longer significant expansion of plantations.

This species is usually found as scattered plants and sometimes also occurs as dense stands. The majority of subpopulations are large, and despite past loss the population is now stable.

Population trend
This species was formerly recognised as two species, Protea transvaalensis in Limpopo and Protea simplex elsewhere.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea simplex E.PhillipsLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)
Protea simplex E.PhillipsNot Threatened Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Protea transvaalensis E.PhillipsRare Hall et al. (1980)

Hall, A.V., De Winter, M., De Winter, B. and Van Oosterhout, S.A.M. 1980. Threatened plants of southern Africa. South African National Scienctific Programmes Report 45. CSIR, Pretoria.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical 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.

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

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Distribution map

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