Thong-leaf Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea lorea R.Br.
Higher Classification
Common Names
Thong-leaf Sugarbush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea lorea has a restricted distribution range, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 7191 km², and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 140-144 km². It is known from an estimated nine to 13 locations, but it is highly likely that there are more than 10 locations as it is easily misidentified as a restio and overlooked in surveys. A continuing decline is inferred from ongoing habitat loss and competition from alien invasive plants. Therefore it nearly meets the criteria thresholds for Vulnerable under criterion B and is listed as Near Threatened.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
This species occurs in the mountains of the Western Cape Province, South Africa, from Wemmershoek southwards to Kogelberg, and eastwards Riviersonderend and along the Langeberg.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
South Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, North Langeberg Sandstone Fynbos, South Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos, Greyton Shale Fynbos, Cape Winelands Shale Fynbos, Boland Granite Fynbos, Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos
It grows on sandstone and shale mountain slopes, at 100-1000 m. It is a long-lived species, and survives fires by resprouting from underground stems. Wind-dispersed seeds are stored in fire-resistant inflorescences, and released after fires. It is pollinated by birds.
About 19% of this species' habitat was lost to agriculture (fruit, vines, cereals) and afforestation in the past. However, since it occurs as scattered plants over a large area, where there is little to no ongoing habitat loss, the overall rate of habitat loss for this species is very low (1% in 24 years), and is unlikely to exceed 15% in the next three generations. This resprouter has underground stems, and it is extremely cryptic when not in flower and can only be mapped for the few years following a fire in which it blooms. It has been misidentified as Restionaceae and is thus easily overlooked in vegetation surveys. Spreading alien invasive pines and hakeas are likely to outcompete this species if they are left unmanaged.

Protea lorea typically occurs as localised and scattered plants over a large area. Some 16 subpopulations are known. Population decline is inferred due to habitat degradation as a result of the increasing spread of alien invasive plants across this species' range.

Population trend
It is conserved in the Kogelberg, Helderberg and Hottentot Holland Nature Reserves.
DNA studies suggest that this species is a member of the ancestral clade to all other extant Protea species. It therefore has a high phylogenetic conservation value.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea lorea R.Br.NT D2Raimondo 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 lorea R.Br. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/04/17

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

Search for images of Protea lorea on iNaturalist