Mountain Silkypuff

Scientific Name
Diastella divaricata (P.J.Bergius) Rourke subsp. montana Rourke
Higher Classification
Diastella serpyllifolia Salisb. ex Knight
Common Names
Mountain Silkypuff (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
This subspecies has a restricted range, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 2420 km². It is however highly abundant, and known from more than 100 subpopulations. Some of these are threatened by competition from alien invasive plants, but it is not yet in danger of extinction.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
This taxon is endemic to the mountains of the Western Cape, where it occurs from the Wemmershoek Mountains to Villiersdorp and western Riviersonderend Mountains, extending to the Hottentots-Holland, Groenland and Kleinrivier mountains.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
North Sonderend Sandstone Fynbos, Overberg Sandstone Fynbos, Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos, Hawequas Sandstone Fynbos
It prefers cool, moist, south-facing slopes and lowland seeps, 100-1200 m. Mature individuals are killed by fires, and only seeds survive. Seeds are released after ripening, and dispersed by ants to their underground nests, where they are protected from predation and fire. It is pollinated by insects.
About 10% of this subspecies' habitat was lost to timber plantations in the past. There is no longer any significant expansion of plantations, and therefore it is not an ongoing threat. More concerning is the rapid spread of invasive escaped pine seedlings from timber plantations into native fynbos vegetation. When escaped pines mature and increase in density, they outcompete native species, leading to rapid declines. Invasive pines are known to be spreading in to this taxon's habitat in the mountains around Franschhoek, the Groenlandberg, Riviersonderend Mountains, and Babilonstoring Mountains.

This taxon is abundant throughout its range. Protea Atlas Project surveys recorded more than 100 subpopulations. The current population trend is not known.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Diastella divaricata (P.J.Bergius) Rourke subsp. montana RourkeVU A2cRaimondo et al. (2009)

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. Diastella divaricata (P.J.Bergius) Rourke subsp. montana Rourke. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/08

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

© C. Paterson-Jones

Search for images of Diastella divaricata subsp. montana on iNaturalist