Scientific Name
Conophytum stephanii Schwantes subsp. helmutii (Lavis) S.A.Hammer
Higher Classification
Conophytum helmutii Lavis
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(v)+2ab(v)
Assessment Date
P.C.V. Van Wyk & D. Raimondo
A taxon endemic to the Richtersveld, in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is known from 17 subpopulations, 15 threat based locations and has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 3487 km² and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 80 km². There is ongoing decline of mature individuals taking place as a result of the illegal succulent trade.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
information redacted, contact SANBI
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Desert, Succulent Karoo
Shaded cracks and crevices on quartz outcrops and in open quartz grit pans.
This species is highly sought after in the specialist Conophytum trade as determined by the number of references to this species on EBay. Since March 2019 there has been a significant increase in the collecting of Conophytums to supply a new demand coming from Asian countries. Fifty two plants were obtained from Korean poachers in 2019 with many more suspected to have left South Africa undetected. The trend in illegal collecting is projected to escalate. An ongoing decline to the population is therefore taking place. The other threat in the region is overgrazing, erosion and degradation due to overstocking of communal rangelands across the Richtersveld. This is not suspected to have a significant impact on this taxon, as the majority of plants occur wedged in rock cracks where they are sheltered from trampling and erosion.

This taxon is widespread, and known from 17 subpopulations. Local abundance varies from large subpopulations to just a few plants in each locality. The population size is estimated to be larger than 10 000 mature individuals, the population is currently declining due to illegal collection.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Conophytum stephanii Schwantes subsp. helmutii (Lavis) S.A.HammerLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

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.

Hartmann, H.E.K. 2002. Illustrated handbook of succulent plants: Aizoaceae A-E. Springer, Berlin.

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.

Van Wyk, P.C.V. & Raimondo, D. 2020. Conophytum stephanii Schwantes subsp. helmutii (Lavis) S.A.Hammer. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/11/28

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Distribution map

© A.J. Young

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