Encephalartos cupidus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Encephalartos cupidus
Species Authority: R.A.Dyer
Common Name(s):
English Blyde River Cycad

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2acd; B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-31
Assessor(s): Donaldson, J.S.
Reviewer(s): Agenbag, L. & Bösenberg, J.D.
Originally occurred in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga province of South Africa, but recent surveys (2004) show that it is extinct in Limpopo and now only survives in the Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga. There has been an 80-85% population reduction in the last three generations, the remaining population has a very small extent of occurrence (58 km²) and area of occupancy (9 km²), the population is severely fragmented and there is continuing decline due to the impacts of collectors.
2003 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is confined to the Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Recorded to occur from 700 up to 1,500 m asl.
South Africa (Limpopo Province - Regionally Extinct, Mpumalanga)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The species has been extirpated in two localities and the remaining population size is estimated to number 300-500 mature individuals. The population is severely fragmented.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: E. cupidus grows in open grassy situations on steep to precipitous rocky slopes or cliffs. Plants are also sometimes found along seepage areas bordering gallery forest as well as in dry forest.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Plants are used in traditional healing practises.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has suffered greatly as a result of over-collecting for ornamental purposes. Due to the few number of plants in the wild, reproductive failure is quite possible in the future. Droughts and fires also cause high mortality amongst the seedlings.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of the CITES Appendices. Most of the remaining plants are found within the Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve.

Citation: Donaldson, J.S. 2010. Encephalartos cupidus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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