Threatened Species Programme

TSP In one of the continent's largest collaborative conservation projects to date, South Africa has become the first megadiverse country to fully assess the status of its entire flora.  The Red List of South African Plants Online provides up to date information on the national conservation status of South Africa's indigenous plants.

The conservation status of plants indicated on the Red List of South African Plants Online represents the status of the species within South Africa's borders. This means that when a species is not endemic to South Africa, only the portion of the species population occurring within South Africa has been assessed. The global conservation status, which is a result of the assessment of the entire global range of a species, can be found on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species:


Enter species name or keywords you wish to search for. For example, type 'rooibos' to find species threatened by rooibos farming. For advanced Search functionality use the POSA website.


Contribute your observations of species of conservation concern to Red List Alert on iNaturalist

Did you know that one in four South African plant species is of conservation concern? Have you spotted one of them? Now you can notify the Red List team at SANBI's Threatened Species Programme of your find by adding your observation to the Red List Alert project on iNaturalist.

Welcome to the Red List of South African plants version 2020

This website serves all national assessments that have been conducted for plants. The current version includes 2900 updated assessments and 5800 new maps. Over the past three years SANBI's Threatened Species Unit has focused on assessing a randomly generated sample of 900 of South Africa's plant taxa that is a statistically representative of all of South Africa plants to include in South Africa's recently published National Biodiversity Assessment. This sample is being used for long term monitoring of trends in risk of extinction and shows that 16% of South Africa's plants are threatened with extinction and 5% of plant taxa increased in threat status over the 28 year period between 1990 and 2018. The main pressure causing plant taxa to increase in threat status is competition from invasive plant species which is affecting 40% of taxa. Invasive alien plants have spread rapidly over the past 20 years especially in the mountains of the Cape Floral Region home to high numbers of endemic plants. Other threats effecting our plants include crop cultivation (affecting 33% of taxa); urban development (affecting 20% of taxa) and habitat degradation as a result of livestock overgrazing (affecting 11% of taxa). The ability to detect change in status of plant species is hindered by lack of monitoring data available on the impacts of overgrazing and medicinal harvesting, the proportion of plants that have changed status is therefore likely to be underestimated. We encourage South Africa's botanists to submit evidence of populations of plants of conservation concern being impacted by medicinal plant harvesting and overgrazing to the iNaturalist platform.

This update also includes an assessment of all endemic plants to the central Karoo basin where the recent droughts between 2015 and 2020 has caused a number of restricted endemic species to be listed as threatened. It also includes an update to the genus Conophytum last assessed in 2016. Since early 2019 there has been a rapid increase in demand for Conophytum wild collected plants coming from Asia and there is currently a very active illegal succulent plant trade impacting this genus and a number of other unique succulent species. A total of thirteen Conophytum species listed in 2016 as Least Concerned have been uplisted to Vulnerable or Endangered and a further 12 have been listed as Critically Endangered for the first time.