Scientific Name
Ruschia unidens (Haw.) Schwantes
Higher Classification
Mesembryanthemum unidens Haw.
Common Names
Rooibergvygie (a), Swaelstertvygie (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Data Deficient - Taxonomically Problematic
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
Ruschia is taxonomically problematic and in need of revision. Many species remain poorly known and misunderstood. Ruschia unidens appears to be a widespread species, but its exact range is not certain. It is possibly threatened in places such as the Free State, but due to the uncertainty regarding the identity of this taxon, its risk of extinction cannot be assessed at present.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Free State
Uncertain. Sonder (1861) reports this species from the Fish River Valley north of Grahamstown. Collections in the Bolus Herbarium and vegetation surveys (Brown and Du Preez 2014, Pond et al. 2002) indicate a distribution as far north as the Winburg district in the Free State. According to Hartmann (1999, 2002) the distribution and ecology of R. unidens is unknown. Hartmann (1999) indicates a single Ruschia species, R. intricata as occurring within the central and southern Free State and the northern Eastern Cape. Klak in Manning and Goldblatt (2012) however indicates that R. intricata is endemic to the Clanwilliam district in the Western Cape, in spite of the type specimen originating from Christiana in the Free State (Brown in Burtt Davy 1926).
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Bloemfontein Karroid Shrubland, Eastern Upper Karoo, Sundays Arid Thicket, Besemkaree Koppies Shrubland, Xhariep Karroid Grassland, Aliwal North Dry Grassland, Highveld Alluvial Vegetation, Fish Valley Thicket, Fish Arid Thicket, Escarpment Arid Thicket
Karroid shrublands, often in shallow soils and crevices on exposed rock sheets.
This species is possibly threatened by habitat loss to quarrying and urban expansion around Bloemfontein, where it is localized to small pockets of karoo shrublands persisting within grasslands (Brown and Du Preez 2014).

The size and extent of the population is not known. It is possibly declining in the Free State due to habitat loss and degradation (Brown and Du Preez 2014).

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Ruschia unidens (Haw.) SchwantesLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Brown, L.R. and Du Preez, P.J. 2014. Threats of mining and urbanisation on a vulnerable ecosystem in the Free State, South Africa. In: O. Grillo (ed), Biodiversity - The dynamic balance of the planet (pp. 329-348), InTech, http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/57589.

Burtt Davy, J. 1926. A manual of the flowering plants and ferns of the Transvaal with Swaziland, South Africa. Part I. Pteridophyta to Bombacaceae. Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., London.

Hartmann, H.E.K. 1999. An annotated checklist of the species placed in Ruschia (Aizoaceae). Bradleya 17:38-74.

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

Manning, J.C. and Goldblatt, P. 2012. Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region 1: The Core Cape Flora. Strelitzia 29. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Pond, U., Beesley, B.B., Brown, L.R. and Bezuidenhout, H. 2002. Floristic analysis of the Mountain Zebra National Park, Eastern Cape. Koede 45(1):35-57.

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.

Sonder, W. 1861. Mesembryaceae: Mesembryanthemum. In: W.H. Harvey and O.W. Sonder (eds). Flora Capensis II (Leguminosae to Loranthaceae):386-460. Hodges, Smith and Co., Dublin.

von Staden, L. 2017. Ruschia unidens (Haw.) Schwantes. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/03

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Distribution map

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