Green Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea coronata Lam.
Higher Classification
Protea incompta R.Br., Protea incompta R.Br. var. susannae E.Phillips, Protea macrocephala Thunb.
Common Names
Green Sugarbush (e), Green-head Sugarbush (e), Groenhofie-suikerbos (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea coronata is a widespread species from mountain slopes of the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa, and has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 34 029 km². About 15% of the population has declined in the past, but it remains at more than 50 locations. It is declining in parts of the range due to habitat loss and degradation. Based on currently available data, the species does not meet the thresholds for any of the five criteria (A-E) which indicate a high risk of extinction, and therefore it is assessed as Least Concern.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Western Cape
This species is widely distributed in the Cape mountains, where it occurs from the Cape Peninsula, Du Toit's Kloof to Kogelberg, Riviersonderend, Bredasdorp Mountains, Potberg, Langeberg to the Tsitsikamma Mountains.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Garden Route Shale Fynbos, Central Coastal Shale Band Vegetation, Eastern Coastal Shale Band Vegetation, Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos, Elim Ferricrete Fynbos, Boland Granite Fynbos, Peninsula Granite Fynbos, Garden Route Granite Fynbos, Peninsula Shale Fynbos, Cape Winelands Shale Fynbos, Western Coastal Shale Band Vegetation, Greyton Shale Fynbos, Humansdorp Shale Renosterveld, South Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, South Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, Potberg Sandstone Fynbos, South Outeniqua Sandstone Fynbos, Tsitsikamma Sandstone Fynbos, Kouga Sandstone Fynbos, Kouga Grassy Sandstone Fynbos, Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos, Loerie Conglomerate Fynbos, Mossel Bay Shale Renosterveld, Elgin Shale Fynbos
It grows in heavy clay soils derived from shale and granites in high-rainfall areas, 200-1100 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.
About 39% of this species' habitat is already irreversibly modified, and loss continues. The main cause is agricultural expansion (vine, fruit and cereal), as well as historical loss to timber plantations on the lower slopes of mountains across its range. It is also threatened by competition from dense infestations of alien invasive plants (Acacias, Hakea and Pinus species) on the lower slopes of the Hottentots Holland, Riviersonderend, Langeberg, and Tsitsikamma mountains.

Subpopulations of this species are generally large, forming dense stands, and it is weedy in places. Most subpopulations are well conserved in the Western and Eastern Cape provincial nature reserves. However, alien invasive plants are present within its habitat, both inside and outside of protected areas and are threatening to outcompete this species in some parts. There are efforts to clear invasive plants, but eradication is proving difficult due to persistent seed banks, from which invasive plants regenerate profusely following natural wildfires. The population is therefore declining.

Population trend
It occurs within the Table Mountain and Tokai sections of the Table Mountain National Park, and in the Haweqwa, Hottentot Holland, Kleinmond Coast and Mountain, and Ruitersbos Nature Reserves.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea coronata Lam.NT A2c+3c+4cRaimondo 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.

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

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Distribution map

© D. Turner

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