Northern Spiderhead

Scientific Name
Serruria fucifolia Salisb. ex Knight
Higher Classification
Common Names
Kleinspinnekopbos (a), Northern Spiderhead (e), Sandveldspinnekopbos (a), Spiderhead (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened A4c
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
The ongoing rate of habitat loss to crop cultivation in the Sandveld since 1990 indicate that a population reduction of 25% is likely to be reached by 2050, within three generations for this species (generation length 20 years).
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Gifberg to Hopefield.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Namaqualand Strandveld, Langebaan Dune Strandveld, Saldanha Flats Strandveld, Lambert's Bay Strandveld, Swartland Alluvium Renosterveld, Piketberg Sandstone Fynbos, Cederberg Sandstone Fynbos, Nardouw Sandstone Fynbos, Graafwater Sandstone Fynbos, Bokkeveld Sandstone Fynbos, Hopefield Sand Fynbos, Leipoldtville Sand Fynbos, Namaqualand Sand Fynbos
It occurs in 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.
Nearly 60% of this species' habitat has already been lost to agricultural expansion, and rapid habitat loss due to rooibos tea and potato cultivation in the Sandveld continues. Additional threats include inappropriate fire management in small habitat remnants, overgrazing and competition from alien invasive plants.

Land cover data indicates 9% habitat loss between 1990 and 2014. Based on this rate of loss, a population reduction of 25% over three generations (60 years) is projected by 2050. In spite of extensive habitat loss, this species is still common over most of its historical range.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Serruria fucifolia Salisb. ex KnightEN A4cRaimondo 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. 2018. Serruria fucifolia Salisb. ex Knight. 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

© N.A. Helme

© C. Paterson-Jones

Search for images of Serruria fucifolia on iNaturalist