Sulphur Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea sulphurea E.Phillips
Higher Classification
Common Names
Sulphur Sugarbush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea sulphurea has a restricted range with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 5653 km². It is known from more than 50 subpopulations and while this species is sometimes harvested for fresh and dried flower industries, there are no reports of a population decline. It is therefore not suspected to be in danger of extinction and is listed as Least Concern.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
This species is endemic to the mountains of the Western Cape Province, South Africa, where it occurs from the Hex River Mountains to the Swartberg and Waboomsberg.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Matjiesfontein Shale Renosterveld, South Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos, South Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, Matjiesfontein Quartzite Fynbos, Montagu Shale Fynbos, Matjiesfontein Shale Fynbos
It occurs on dry, rocky, sandstone slopes, 1000-1550 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 and insects.
At least 8% of this species' habitat has been irreversibly modified due to agriculture in the past, with 3% habitat loss recorded between 1990 and 2014. Further habitat loss is unlikely since the majority of this species' habitat is found in montane areas not suitable for agriculture. It is subject to harvesting for the cut-flower industry, however harvesting is not suspected to be causing population decline.

Subpopulations are small and isolated in the west of its range, but in the Little Karoo, where the majority of the subpopulations occur, there are thousands of plants. The population is not declining, but may decline in future if harvesting is not managed.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea sulphurea E.PhillipsLeast 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 sulphurea E.Phillips. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/04/17

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Distribution map

© D. van der Colff

© D. Turner

© D. Turner

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

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