Marsilea schelpeana 

Scope: Global, Pan-Africa & Southern Africa
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Polypodiopsida Salviniales Marsileaceae

Scientific Name: Marsilea schelpeana Launert

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2007-07-18
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Victor, J.E. & Dold, A.P.
Reviewer(s): D. Pillay & D. Raimondo
The species is known from less than 10 locations in the Eastern and Western Cape, South Africa. It has an extent of occurrence of 7,500 km2 and an area of occupancy of less than 100 km2 and is suffering from ongoing habitat loss from urbanisation and agriculture. It is therefore listed as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Eastern and Western Cape (South Africa) (Cook 2004).

Known localities:
1) A specimen was collected from Aloes (Tippers Creek) Reserve at Blue Water Bay, Port Elizabeth. Specimen in GRA (June 2002). Another specimen from the same area in the 1970s.

From PRECIS (South African National Biodiversity Institute2007):
2) Port Elizabeth. Korsten (R. Liversidge) / Port Elizabeth, Near Koster (E.A.C.L.E. Schelpe 1961)
3) Port Elizabeth District, Zwartkops River Valley. 33°56'S; 23°33'E to 33°46'S; 25°38'E. 5-100 m a.s.l. (R. Anderson 1977)
4) Red House near Port Elizabeth. (F.M. Paterson 1912) and (A.O.D. Mogg 1919) / Port Elizabeth Division, Upper reaches of Papenkuils Stream (R. Liversidge 1957)
5) Alexandria Dist. Kolsrand, Kop Alleen rd (S.M. Johnson 1954)
6) Flats near Bredasdorp. Grown at Kirstenbosch (Schelpe 1957)
7) Riversdale, Cultivated in Kirstenbosh (E.J. Van Jaarsveld 1980) Common along edges of pond
8) Also collected by J. Burrows in the Albertinia. Specimen in the Buffelskloof private herbarium (pers communication July 2007)
Countries occurrence:
South Africa
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:<100
Lower elevation limit (metres):5
Upper elevation limit (metres):215
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Estimated total population size: > over 10,000 individuals.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:10000
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Mat-forming plants found along the margins of seasonal pools and along water courses from near sea level to about 200 m.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss due to agriculture and urban development is an ongoing threat. Due to the fact that this species is restricted to wetlands in a densely populated and intensively cultivated region, its survival is threatened (J. Burrows pers. comm.). The population at Aloes Reserve (Tippers Creek) at Blue Water Bay near Port Elizabeth is threatened by urban development. The reserve is an informal reserve on municipal land (Dold pers. comm. 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species requires habitat protection and site management. Legal measures to protect the species and habitat are needed. Habitat restoration is needed to increase species' suitable habitat.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

Bibliography [top]

Cook, C.D.K. 2004. Aquatic and wetland plants of southern Africa. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia, Pretoria.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

South African National Biodiversity Institute. 2007. PRE (National Herbarium, Pretoria) Computerised Information System.

Citation: Victor, J.E. & Dold, A.P. 2010. Marsilea schelpeana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T185228A8371113. . Downloaded on 19 August 2018.
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