Scientific Name
Moraea amissa Goldblatt
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Assessment Date
D. Raimondo, I. Ebrahim, C. von Witt & D. van der Colff
A small, severely fragmented population remaining within a small area (EOO 18-39 km ², AOO km²) continues to decline due to ongoing habitat degradation and competition from alien invasive plants.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Swartland Granite Renosterveld, Boland Granite Fynbos
Coarse granitic soils amongst rocky outcrops in renosterveld.
Critically little Swartland Granite Renosterveld remains intact, after most of the nutrient-rich soils on which it occurs have been converted to crop fields. The subpopulation north of Malmesbury was formerly part of a more extensive subpopulation, first recorded by J.P.H. Acocks in 1959 (Goldblatt 1976). Ongoing agricultural expansion as well as quarrying has reduced this subpopulation to a tiny fragment of a few hectares. This piece of renosterveld is heavily grazed, which is causing reduced reproductive output due to cattle grazing on the flowers, preventing pollination and seed set. Without recruitment from a seedbank, this subpopulation is unlikely to survive beyond the current generation. Scattered invasive wattles are present at this site, and there are no efforts to eradicate them. Subpopulations on the Paardeberg are threatened by ongoing agricultural expansion, as well as spreading, unmanaged alien invasive plants.

Moraea amissa was long known from a single renosterveld fragment along the N7 north of Malmesbury. It was first recorded in this area in 1959, and by the 1970s it was thought to be extinct (Goldblatt 1976). It was rediscovered in the same area in 1981, and since then this subpopulation has been monitored continually. In the 1980s and 1990s there were around 20-50 plants, but surveys in 2002, 2003 and 2004 were unsuccessful in locating plants. In 2005 56 plants were counted after good rainfall. Surveys in 2010 and 2011 again failed to locate any individuals. Recently it was also discovered on two farms in the Paardeberg to the south of Malmesbury. At both sites, plants occur on small, isolated renosterveld fragments. One site has 50-100 mature individuals, and the second between 100 and 250 plants, with the global population estimated to be between 200 and 400 mature individuals. The species disperses only over short distances, and thus genetic exchange and rescue effects between the remaining fragments is unlikely. The population is therefore considered severely fragmented, is expected to continue to decline due to ongoing habitat degradation.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Moraea amissa GoldblattCR B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Moraea amissa GoldblattEndangered Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Goldblatt, P. 1976. The genus Moraea in the winter rainfall region of southern Africa. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 63(4):657-786.

Goldblatt, P. 1986. The Moraeas of Southern Africa: a systematic monograph of the genus in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Transkei, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Annals of Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens 14:1-224. National Botanic Gardens in association with the Missouri Botanical Garden, USA, Cape Town.

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.

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 Witt, C. & van der Colff, D. 2016. Moraea amissa Goldblatt. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/05/18

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Distribution map

© I. Ebrahim

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