Scientific Name
Eriocaulon transvaalicum N.E.Br. subsp. tofieldifolium (Schinz) S.M.Phillips
Higher Classification
Eriocaulon tofieldifolium Schinz
National Status
Status and Criteria
Data Deficient - Taxonomically Problematic
Assessment Date
H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
This taxon is rare and poorly known in South Africa. It is possibly insufficiently distinct from E. transvaalicum to warrant recognition. Based on currently available data, its risk of extinction cannot be assessed.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
This taxon is known only from two widely disjunct localities in South Africa, one from Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga Lowveld, and one in western Mpumalanga north of Bronkhorstspruit. It also occurs in Namibia and Tanzania.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Crocodile Gorge Mountain Bushveld, Loskop Mountain Bushveld
It occurs in marshes and seasonally inundated areas in mountain bushveld.
Around Nelspruit it is threatened by habitat loss to urban expansion and competition from alien invasive plants. Fragmentation of natural ecosystems is also likely to impact water flow dynamics of aquatic ecosystems, which often leads to changes in native species dynamics. In western Mpumalanga it is potentially threatened by habitat loss to expansion of rural settlements, as well as habitat degradation due to overgrazing.

This taxon is only known from two collections, and was last recorded in South Africa in the 1980s. It may be overlooked, and it may be confused with subsp. transvaalicum, with which it overlaps in range in South Africa. The current population trend is not known, it is likely to be declining or possibly regionally extinct. Field surveys are needed to relocate it in the wild.

Population trend
This taxon is possibly not sufficiently distinct from the widespread and variable E. transvaalicum to warrant recognition. Obermeyer (1985) treated it as a synonym of E. transvaalicum, but it was reinstated as a subspecies by Phillips (1997). The subspecies overlap in range in South Africa, and they occupy the same habitat.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Eriocaulon transvaalicum N.E.Br. subsp. tofieldifolium (Schinz) S.M.PhillipsLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Cook, C.D.K. 2004. Aquatic and wetland plants of southern Africa. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Obermeyer, A.A. 1985. Eriocaulaceae. In: O.A. Leistner (ed). Flora of Southern Africa 4 Part 2 Xyridaceae-Juncaceae:9-21. Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria.

Phillips, S.M. 1997. The Eriocaulon transvaalicum Complex and Some Other Species of Eriocaulon from Africa. Kew Bulletin 52(1):51-72.

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.

Sieben, E.J.J. 2009. The status and distribution of vascular plants (Magnoliophyta, Lycophyta, Pteridophyta). In: W.R.T. Darwall, K.G. Smith, D. Tweddle and P. Skelton (eds.), The status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in southern Africa (pp. 83-98), IUCN and SAIAB, Gland, Switzerland and Grahamstown, South Africa.

Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2020. Eriocaulon transvaalicum N.E.Br. subsp. tofieldifolium (Schinz) S.M.Phillips. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/03

Comment on this assessment Comment on this assessment
Distribution map

Search for images of Eriocaulon transvaalicum subsp. tofieldifolium on iNaturalist