Ngoye Dwarf Cycad

Scientific Name
Encephalartos ngoyanus I.Verd.
Higher Classification
Common Names
Ngoye Dwarf Cycad (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v); C2a(i)
Assessment Date
J.D. Bösenberg, B. Church & J.S. Donaldson
This species is rare throughout its range and declining in places such as Ngoye forest. It has a restricted range (extent of occurrence <5,000 km²), occurs at a small number of locations, and is undergoing a continuing decline. Therefore it qualifies as Vulnerable under criterion B. The population size is also estimated to be small, with previous estimates of up to 5,000 mature individuals thought to be too large, and more recent estimates suggesting it could be closer to 2,500 mature individuals, with the largest subpopulations containing 1,000 plants. Therefore, it also qualifies as Vulnerable under criterion C. If population surveys show that there are <2,500 plants in the wild, this species could qualify for Endangered.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
This species has two distribution areas separated by a distance of about 125 km. It occurs mainly in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa and also in Eswatini and Mozambique. In the south it starts at the Ngoye Forest of central KwaZulu-Natal. Further north the distribution follows the Ubombo mountains from about the Mkuze river and then northwards along the Lebombo mountains to where the Usutu river cuts through the mountain range.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Southern Lebombo Bushveld, Scarp Forest, KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Belt Grassland
This species occurs in open grassland and on forest margins, often among boulders, at 200 to 600 m asl. Plants are often exposed to veld fires.
Overgrazing and veld fires have taken their toll on wild subpopulations as far as recruitment goes and in addition, overzealous collectors have removed thousands of plants.

The population size is declining and was thought to number up to 5,000 mature individuals. The population at Ngoye forest is estimated to be less than 250 plants and plants continue to be lost at this locality. The other two main subpopulations constitute an additional approximately 1,000 plants (B. Church pers. comm. 2011) It is unknown how many plants occur in Mozambique and Eswatini but it is most likely to be small numbers. This means that the previous estimates may be high and that the total number of plants in the wild could be less than 2,500.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Encephalartos ngoyanus I.Verd.VU A4acd; C1Raimondo et al. (2009)
Encephalartos ngoyanus I.Verd.VU A1,B1B2abcd,D2Scott-Shaw (1999)
Encephalartos ngoyanus I.Verd.Vulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Encephalartos ngoyanus I.Verd.Vulnerable Hall et al. (1980)

Donaldson, J.S. 2003. Cycads. Status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/SSC Cycad Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland; Cambridge, UK.

Giddy, C. 1990. Focus on Encephalartos ngoyanus. Encephalartos 23:3-9.

Golding, J.S. 2002. Southern African plant red data lists. No. 14. SABONET, Pretoria.

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.

Scott-Shaw, C.R. 1999. Rare and threatened plants of KwaZulu-Natal and neighbouring regions. KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, Pietermaritzburg.

Bösenberg, J.D., Church, B. & Donaldson, J.S. 2020. Encephalartos ngoyanus I.Verd. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/06/22

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Distribution map

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