Cascade Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea venusta Compton
Higher Classification
Common Names
Cascade Sugarbush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea venusta is a range-restricted species, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 2462 km², and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 180 km². Small, severely fragmented subpopulations continue to decline possibly due to fire. Unexplained mass mortality has been observed on the Kammanassie Mountain. It therefore qualifies for listing as Endangered under criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
This species has a restricted distribution on the Groot Swartberg and Kammanassie mountain of the Western Cape Province, South Africa.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Swartberg Altimontane Sandstone Fynbos, South Kammanassie Sandstone Fynbos, South Swartberg Sandstone Fynbos
It occurs at high altitudes, on south-facing sandstone slopes, 1300-2000 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.
Some subpopulations of this slow maturing species, especially those on Kammanassie Mountain, have declined drastically. The cause of this decline is unknown but it is susceptible to too frequent fires. Recent field observations indicate that there are unmanaged alien plants spreading in Swartberg mountain. These could outcompete native species in future if left unmanaged.

Subpopulations of this species are scattered and isolated on Swartberg and Kammanassie mountains. Most of these are small, consisting of fewer than 200 plants, the population is considered to be severely fragmented. There is a continuing decline of the population, but the cause of this decline is not known.

Population trend
All subpopulations lie in or on the border of the Towerkop, Kleinberg, Grootswartberg, Swartberg East, Kammanassie nature reserves.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea venusta ComptonEN A3c+4c; B1ab(v)+2ab(v)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Protea venusta ComptonRare Hilton-Taylor (1996)

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.

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.

Vlok, J. and Schutte-Vlok, A.L. 2010. Plants of the Klein Karoo. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.

Rebelo, A.G., Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2020. Protea venusta Compton. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/04/17

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Distribution map

© D. Turner

© C. Paterson-Jones

© R.C. Turner

© R.C. Turner

© R.C. Turner

© J.H. Vlok/A.L. Schutte-Vlok

© Outramps

© Outramps

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