Scientific Name
Conophytum ernstii S.A.Hammer subsp. ernstii
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
P.C.V. Van Wyk, A.J. Young & S.A. Hammer
A rare, range-restricted taxon, to the Richtersveld region of South Africa. It has an extent of occurrence of 16 km², and the population at one threat based location is in rapid decline as a result of a prolonged drought. Over 50% of individuals have died in the past 8 years. Ongoing aridification and warming is predicted by climate change models. The population is not suspected to recover. This species therefore qualifies as Critically Endangered under criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
information redacted, contact SANBI
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Noms Mountain Desert
Crevices of gneissic granite rocks, usually on sheltered slopes in Noms Mountain Desert.
A large proportion of the population, estimated to be more than 50% have died from the eight year prolonged drought which started in 2012. This taxon is also popular in cultivation but the general inaccessibility of the area occupied minimises the threat of collection, furthermore it occurs within a protected area and the South African National Parks Board are closely monitoring the site for collecting.

This taxon occur in typically small subpopulations scattered among more common Conophytum species of the area, and is currently known from two, possibly three subpopulations. The population size is difficult to assess, but based on its restricted range and low abundance is likely to be less than 1000 plants. Numbers have been decreasing continuously as a result of drought related mortality.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Conophytum ernstii S.A.Hammer subsp. ernstii VU D12015.1
Conophytum ernstii S.A.Hammer subsp. ernstii Rare Raimondo et al. (2009)
Conophytum ernstii S.A.Hammer subsp. ernstii Lower Risk - Near Threatened Victor (2002)
Conophytum ernstii S.A.Hammer subsp. ernstii Rare Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Hammer, S. 2002. Dumpling and his wife: New view of the genus Conophytum. EAE Creative Colour, Norwich.

Hammer, S.A. 1993. The genus Conophytum: A conograph. Succulent Plant Publications, Pretoria.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Victor, J.E. 2002. South Africa. In: J.S. Golding (ed), Southern African plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 14 (pp. 93-120), SABONET, Pretoria.

Van Wyk, P.C.V., Young, A.J. & Hammer, S.A. 2020. Conophytum ernstii S.A.Hammer subsp. ernstii. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/03

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Distribution map

© A.J. Young

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