Harlequin Satinflower

Scientific Name
Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl.
Higher Classification
Ixia tricolor Schneev., Sparaxis blanda Sweet, Sparaxis grandiflora (D.Delaroche) Ker Gawl. var. lineata (Sweet) Baker, Sparaxis griffinii Sweet, Sparaxis lineata Sweet, Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl. var. blanda (Sweet) Baker, Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl. var. griffinii (Sweet) Baker, Sparaxis versicolor Sweet, Streptanthera lineata (Sweet) Klatt, Streptanthera tricolor (Schneev.) Klatt
Common Names
Fluweelblom (a), Fluweeltjie (a), Harlequin Satinflower (e), Orange Satinflower (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v)
Assessment Date
P. Goldblatt, D. Raimondo, J.C. Manning & L. von Staden
A highly localized species (EOO 39 km²), but locally abundant. An estimated seven to 10 locations continue to decline due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, as well as competition from alien invasive plants.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
Bokkeveld Plateau around Nieuwoudtville.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Nieuwoudtville Shale Renosterveld, Bokkeveld Sandstone Fynbos
Seasonally wet places and watercourses in tillite-sandstone transition soils, often wedged among rocks.
At least 50% of this species' renosterveld habitat has been converted to crop fields. Especially north of Nieuwoudtville, only small remnants remain. This species occurs on clay flats where it is vulnerable to ongoing agricultural expansion, but plants also often occur in rocky outcrops unsuitable to ploughing. Competition from alien invasive grasses is also an ongoing threat across most of this species' very narrow range (Goldblatt and Manning 2013).

Two subpopulations are known, the first, consisting of several thousand individuals, occurs across three adjacent farms to the north of Nieuwoudtville. The second, is much smaller, consisting of around 100 mature individuals (D. Raimondo pers. obs.).

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl.VU D2Raimondo et al. (2009)
Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl.Vulnerable Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl.Endangered Hall et al. (1980)

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2013. Systematics and biology of the Cape genus Sparaxis (Iridaceae). Strelitzia 32. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Hall, A.V., De Winter, M., De Winter, B. and Van Oosterhout, S.A.M. 1980. Threatened plants of southern Africa. South African National Scienctific Programmes Report 45. CSIR, 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.

Goldblatt, P., Raimondo, D., Manning, J.C. & von Staden, L. 2014. Sparaxis tricolor (Schneev.) Ker Gawl. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/05/22

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Distribution map

© C. Paterson-Jones

© C. Paterson-Jones

© C. Paterson-Jones

© C. Paterson-Jones

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