Sandveld Spiderhead

Scientific Name
Serruria decipiens R.Br.
Higher Classification
Serruria adscendens (Lam.) R.Br. var. decipiens (R.Br.) Hutch.
Common Names
Sandveld Spiderhead (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened A4c
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
A range-restricted (EOO 6457 km²), but locally common species that is declining due to rapid agricultural expansion within the northern part of its range. Based on observed rate of habitat loss, a population reduction of at least 20% is projected by 2050, within three generations of this species (generation length 15 years).
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Olifants River Mountains to Cape Flats.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, Langebaan Dune Strandveld, Saldanha Flats Strandveld, Swartland Granite Renosterveld, Swartland Silcrete Renosterveld, Piketberg Sandstone Fynbos, Graafwater Sandstone Fynbos, Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, Atlantis Sand Fynbos, Hopefield Sand Fynbos, Leipoldtville Sand Fynbos
Sand Fynbos of the west coast lowlands. 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.
This species has already lost at least 50% of its habitat to crop cultivation and urban expansion, and rapid loss continues in the northern part of its range. Subpopulations persisting in small remnants and road verges are threatened by ongoing habitat degradation due to inappropriate fire management, mowing, overgrazing and competition from alien invasive plants. This species is also potentially sensitive to groundwater abstraction due to its preference for moist habitats.

This species is still common over most of its range, but is declining rapidly due to ongoing habitat loss in the Sandveld. The northernmost subpopulations are relatively fragmented and tend to occur in seeps and moister habitats. It is still very common in the south of its range, where subpopulations were far more extensive, but in this area its habitat has been severely impacted, and many remnants are confined to road reserves. Based on the observed rate of habitat loss between 1990 and 2014, a population reduction of at least 20% is projected by 2050, a period within three generations (generation length 20 years).

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Serruria decipiens R.Br.VU 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.

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. 2018. Serruria decipiens R.Br. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/04

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Distribution map

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