Pleiospilos simulans (Marloth) N.E.Br.
|Mesembryanthemum simulans Marloth|
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered D
|L. von Staden|
|A species that was previously thought to be extinct in the wild, but recently rediscovered. One small subpopulation of fewer than 50 plants is potentially threatened by illegal succulent collecting.|
|South African endemic|
|Graaff-Reinet to Willowmore.|
Habitat and Ecology
|Eastern Lower Karoo, Southern Karoo Riviere|
|This species is popular in cultivation (Martin 1989), but most of the material in horticultural collections are hybrids (Hammer and Liede 1986). There were three known subpopulations in the wild, but these were all cleared out by succulent collectors by the early 2000s (J.H. Vlok pers. comm. 2007). A recently rediscovered wild population is threatened by collection (it is close to a road).|
Pleiospilos simulans is a rare, range-restricted species (historical EOO is 1888 km²), and it is known from only a few collections. There were three known subpopulations in the wild, but these were all locally extinct by the early 2000s. The plant was not recorded in the wild for more than 20 years, and was thought to be extinct in the wild. However, recently, a small subpopulation of about five plants was discovered on a farm near Klipplaat (D. Schnabel pers. comm. 2015). The species is small and cryptic, particularly when not in flower, and well camouflaged in its stony habitat. It is therefore easily overlooked, and the recent discovery brings hope that other, small subpopulations may persist in the wild. A more thorough survey of this species' habitat is needed to determine the size and extent of the population.
|von Staden, L. 2016. Pleiospilos simulans (Marloth) N.E.Br. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2019/12/06|