Red-throat Dwarf Candle Bush

Scientific Name
Monsonia multifida E.Mey.
Higher Classification
Sarcocaulon multifidum E.Mey. ex R.Knuth
Common Names
Dwergboesmankersie (a), Red-throat Dwarf Candle Bush (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered A4c
Assessment Date
L. von Staden & P.C.V. Van Wyk
If recent rates of habitat degradation and destruction is to continue, this species' South African population is likely to decline by more than 50% within one to two generations.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape
Richtersveld, restricted to the coastal plain on both sides of the Orange River near its mouth.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Western Gariep Hills Desert, Western Gariep Lowland Desert, Western Gariep Plains Desert
Exposed, rocky places among dunes and on quartz flats.
This species is threatened by severe, ongoing habitat loss and degradation across its range in South Africa. Between Alexander Bay and Sendelingsdrif, severe overstocking of livestock is causing trampling disturbance that is negatively impacting all plant species in the area, even those that are not grazed. Mining expansion around Sendelingsdrif and Koeskop is causing not only ongoing habitat loss, but also degradation for a wide area surrounding the mines, mainly due to dust blowing from exposed mine dumps, burying dwarf species such as this one, and irresponsible off-road driving of vehicles across sensitive quartz habitats. In Namibia this species also occurs largely within a diamond mining area.

This species has an extremely limited range, and is declining rapidly in South Africa. It occurs in several patches of about 20-30 m² in a narrow band following the lower Gariep Valley between Alexander Bay and Sendelingsdrif. Extensive expansion of mining and mining-related degradation has caused rapid, recent habitat loss over the past 20 years (P.C.V. van Wyk pers. obs.). Changes in land cover indicate a 15-20% loss over the past 15 years, but does not account for degradation due to windblown dust. It is estimated that the population has declined by at least 20% within the past 10-15 years due to habitat loss to mining (P.C.V. van Wyk pers. comm.). Grazing pressure increased significantly over the past 10 years, after privately owned farms around Alexander Bay were handed to local herder communities following a successful land claim. It is estimated that extreme overgrazing affects 80-90% of this species' habitat outside mining areas in South Africa. This species is poorly protected, and considering the current rate of habitat destruction, the population is likely to decline by at least another 50% within the next 10 years if no efforts are made to secure protection for it. It is a long-lived, slow growing species that seldom recruits, and the population reduction would be within one to two generations. It also has a very limited range within Namibia, where it is not as severely threatened, but the South African population is unlikely to experience significant rescue effects from the Namibian population.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Monsonia multifida E.Mey.EN A4c2015.1
Sarcocaulon multifidum E.Mey. ex R.KnuthLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Albers, F. 1996. The taxonomic status of Sarcocaulon (Geraniaceae). South African Journal of Botany 62(6):345-347.

Moffett, R.O. 1979. The genus Sarcocaulon. Bothalia 12(4):581-613.

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.

Snijman, D.A. 2013. Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region 2: The extra Cape flora. Strelitzia 30. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

von Staden, L. & Van Wyk, P.C.V. 2015. Monsonia multifida E.Mey. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/05/16

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Distribution map

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