Stinky Satinflower

Scientific Name
Sparaxis fragrans (Jacq.) Ker Gawl.
Higher Classification
Gladiolus odorus Schrank (later homonym), not of Salisb. (1796), Ixia fragrans Jacq., Ixia sordida Hornem., Romulea fragrans (Jacq.) Eckl., Synnotia stenophylla Baker
Common Names
Stinky Satinflower (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Assessment Date
D. Raimondo, I. Ebrahim & L. von Staden
A range-restricted species (EOO 595 km²), that has already lost 90% of its habitat. Between six and 12 remaining subpopulations are severely fragmented and continue to decline due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, as well as competition from alien invasive plants.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Theewaterskloof to Bot River and Napier.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Western Ruens Shale Renosterveld, Greyton Shale Fynbos, Elgin Shale Fynbos, Elim Ferricrete Fynbos
Clay flats and slopes, usually waterlogged in the winter months.
Less than 10% of this species' habitat remains intact after extensive loss to crop cultivation, and loss continues. All known remaining subpopulations occur on small fragments, where they are subjected to ongoing habitat degradation. Fragments are often areas that are too steep or rocky for ploughing, but these sites are then used for livestock grazing and regularly overstocked. Many remaining subpopulations are also in sites densely infested with unmanaged alien invasive plants. The disappearance of specialist pollinators from small isolated fragments is also concerning.

Extensive habitat loss has fragmented this species' population into small, isolated subpopulations. Recent field observations at three of the six known remaining subpopulations indicate that they are small, the largest consisting of fewer than 100 mature individuals. Notes on herbarium records also indicate that it is uncommon. Some historical localities where habitat still remains need to be surveyed to determine if subpopulations are still extant, and to record their size. Further surveys may confirm the existence of up to 12 subpopulations, but all are likely to be confined to small and isolated remnants.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Sparaxis fragrans (Jacq.) Ker Gawl.EN B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)2015.1
Sparaxis fragrans (Jacq.) Ker Gawl.VU C2a(i)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Sparaxis fragrans (Jacq.) Ker Gawl.Rare Hilton-Taylor (1996)

De Vos, M.P. 1999. Ixia. In: O.A. Leistner (ed). Flora of Southern Africa 7 Iridaceae Part 2: Ixioideae, Fascicle 1: Ixieae:3-87. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

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.

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.

Raimondo, D., Ebrahim, I. & von Staden, L. 2014. Sparaxis fragrans (Jacq.) 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. Burgers

© I. Ebrahim

© I. Ebrahim

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