Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Fabales Leguminosae

Scientific Name: Delonix pumila
Species Authority: Du Puy, Phillipson & R.Rabev.
Poinciana adansonioides R.Vig.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,iv,v)+2ab(iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2011-01-13
Assessor(s): Rivers, M.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C.
Delonix pumila is listed as Endangered since its extent of occurrence is less than 5,000 km² and its area of occupancy is less than 500 km²; genetic studies show that the species consists of a single subpopulation (=location); and habitat continues to decline in quality and extent, and probably in the number of mature individuals due to the effect of harvesting, population expansion and habitat destruction. It is also known to be very slow-growing, and so will have less chance of adapting to these pressures.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1998 Endangered (EN)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: D. pumila is endemic to a small region around Toliara in the southwestern part of Madagascar. It is found near the hill ‘La Table’ approximately 25 km east of Toliara and along the adjacent escarpment edge of the Mahafaly Plateau extending to the area just south of Onilahy river. A collection from 2006 from the Zombitse area (Tefy 919) has been misidentified as D. pumila. Based on the distribution of herbarium specimens, the extent of occurrence (EOO) is 311 km² and the area of occupancy (AOO) is 93 km². It is recorded from sea level up to 160 m.
Countries occurrence:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 93
Number of Locations: 1
Upper elevation limit (metres): 160
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Genetic population analysis shows that the species consists of a single interbreeding population. Only 2% of the genetic variation is distributed within sample sites, and 98% are distributed between different sample sites. Genetically D. pumila contains low levels of genetic diversity compared to other species in Delonix s.l. (Rivers et al. 2011). New collections (from 2007/2008) show that the largest subpopulation exists along the main road into Toliara; at the other known localities much smaller stands were found.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: D. pumila is a dwarf, deciduous shrub-like tree less than 3 m tall. It is found within the spiny forest and coastal bushland with succulent species of Euphorbia on limestone rock (Du Puy et al. 1995, 2002). It is slow-growing, and thought to be pollinated by moths due to its night opening flowers, white petals with long dark stamens and an upper petal with a narrow tubular nectariferous claw (Du Puy et al. 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species can have a caudiciform trunk and is therefore grown by collectors as an ornamental. There may be trade in wild-collected plants.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The natural vegetation where D. pumila is found is under threat from widespread exploitation for firewood and charcoal production. Selective logging, increased cultivation and grazing of livestock are also leading to further degradation of the habitat (Moat and Smith 2007). The rate of degradation has been exacerbated in recent years and the naturally slow growth and regeneration of the spiny forest is putting the endemic species of the area at particular risk (WWF 2001). The spiny forest is one of the primary vegetation types in Madagascar that is declining significantly with an estimated rate of loss of 1.2% per year (Harper et al. 2007, MEFT et al. 2009). Also, the main population of the species exists close to one of the largest and expanding towns in Madagascar and may be impacted by road widening. The species may also be collected from the wild and sold as an ornamental internationally. Climate change modelling predicted little change in climatically suitable range by 2100 (Rivers et al. 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: D. pumila is found in a proposed protected area (Onilahy), although the effectiveness of this proposed protection is not known. Seed collections have been made and are held by the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB, Wakehurst Place, UK) as well as in-country by Silo National des Graines Forestières (SNGF). Botanic garden collections exist according to BGCI (

Citation: Rivers, M. 2014. Delonix pumila. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T36269A2864319. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
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