Encephalartos inopinus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Cycadopsida Cycadales Zamiaceae

Scientific Name: Encephalartos inopinus R.A.Dyer
Common Name(s):
English Lydenburg Cycad

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) A2acd; B2ab(i,ii,iv,v); C1+2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-31
Assessor(s): Donaldson, J.S.
Reviewer(s): Agenbag, L. & Bösenberg, J.D.
This species has experienced a rapid decline. Helicopter surveys show numbers dropping from 677 in 1992 to 113 in 2001 (83% decline) and to 81 plants in 2004 (further 28%). Stan Rogers (pers. comm.) from the Limpopo Provincial Government reported in 2006 that the species might be extinct in the wild as poaching had continued after 2004.
Date last seen: 2004
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found along the Steelpoort and Olifant rivers and adjacent catchment areas in the Mpumalanga province, South Africa. Recorded between 600 to 800 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
South Africa (Limpopo Province)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:7
Number of Locations:3
Lower elevation limit (metres):600
Upper elevation limit (metres):800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There may be no plants left in the wild, see rationale.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:81
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs sparsely, mainly in thick bush on north-facing steep slopes or rocky outcrops. They grow in skeletal soil or no soil, on steep to precipitous slopes in gorges on dolomite. The rainfall ranges from a meagre 375 mm to 750 mm annually. Some plants hang from inaccessible narrow ledges high up in gorges. The vegetation type is referred to as Dolomite Mountain Bushveld.
Generation Length (years):200

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has suffered much from the activities of collectors and in addition, large troops of baboons damage immature cones and this could explain the absence of seedlings.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of the CITES Appendices.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
5. Biological resource use -> 5.2. Gathering terrestrial plants -> 5.2.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

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

Mucina, L. and Rutherford, M.C. (eds). 2004. Vegetation Map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland: Shapefiles of basic mapping units. Cape Town, South Africa

Osborne, R. 1992. Focus on Encephalartos inopinus. Encephalartos 31: 4-8.

Citation: Donaldson, J.S. 2010. Encephalartos inopinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T41890A10570662. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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