Blyde Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea laetans L.E.Davidson
Higher Classification
Protea gaguedi J.F.Gmel. subsp. laetans (L.E.Davidson) Beard
Common Names
Blyde Protea (e), Blyde Sugarbush (e), Blyde-suikerbos (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(iii,iv)+2ab(iii,iv)
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea laetans has a restricted range, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 164 km², and an area of occupancy (AOO) 112 km². It is currently known from four locations and continues to decline due to habitat degradation to too infrequent fires, and collecting for firewood. The largest subpopulation has been incorporated into a holiday resort and it is highly unlikely that its natural fire cycle will be maintained. Consequently, it is unlikely that future recruitment will occur here unless special measures are taken.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Limpopo, Mpumalanga
Blydepoort Nature Reserve.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Northern Escarpment Quartzite Sourveld
This species occurs in grassland on quartzite soils, at 1000-1400 m. It is a long-lived species, and survives fires by resprouting from underground boles or rootstocks. Wind-dispersed seeds are stored in fire-resistant inflorescences, and released after fires. It is pollinated by birds.
Protea laetans is threatened by too infrequent fires as a largest subpopulation occurs near holiday resorts where the natural fire cycle is not maintained by resort management. Plants become too old and lose vigour, and they can be smothered by other plants, all of which reduces the number of new seedlings. Also, plants are collected and used for firewood. Further infrastructure development is a potential threat.

Protea laetans is known from a few stands of several thousand plants, with the largest subpoplation at Forever Resort Blyde Canyon consisting of more than 10 000 plants.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea laetans L.E.DavidsonVU B1ab(iv)+2ab(iv)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Protea laetans L.E.DavidsonVulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Protea laetans L.E.DavidsonUncertain 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 laetans L.E.Davidson. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/01/27

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

© Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Agency (M.T.P.A.)

Search for images of Protea laetans on iNaturalist