Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Cycadopsida Cycadales Zamiaceae

Scientific Name: Encephalartos caffer
Species Authority: (Thunb.) Lehm.
Common Name(s):
English Eastern Cape Dwarf Cycad
Encephalartos brachyphyllus Lehm. & De Vriese
Zamia cycadis L.f.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-31
Assessor(s): Donaldson, J.S.
Reviewer(s): Agenbag, L. & Bösenberg, J.D.
A widespread species that is difficult to assess due to its low growth form and it is easily missed in surveys. Based on repeat photographs, the species appears to have declined in some areas by about 20% in the past 60 years. So comes close to qualifying for a threatened status under criterion A2 or A4.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2003 Near Threatened (NT)
1998 Vulnerable (V)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found mainly in the Eastern Cape province and in an isolated subpopulation in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. In the Eastern Cape it has been recorded from Humansdorp in the south, then northwards to areas in the Albany district and continuing northwards to an area near Kentani, just across the Great Kei river. Still further to the north, it is found in the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal province. The species seems to consist of numerous isolated subpopulations in this area. Recorded from 300 to 700 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 300
Number of Locations: 10-12
Lower elevation limit (metres): 300
Upper elevation limit (metres): 700
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 8000-10000
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species typically grows in grassland but can also occur in thicket when grasslands are not burnt frequently. It is often found growing among rocks.
Systems: Terrestrial
Generation Length (years): 35

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The habitat of E. caffer is somewhat threatened as a result of clearing for agricultural purposes. This species has also been affected due to over-collecting for ornamental purposes.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of the CITES Appendices. E. caffer occurs in the Brooklands Cycad Reserve and in the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve.

Citation: Donaldson, J.S. 2010. Encephalartos caffer. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T41929A10602384. . Downloaded on 05 October 2015.
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