Scientific Name
Othonna pavonia E.Mey.
Higher Classification
National Status
Status and Criteria
Data Deficient - Insufficient Information
Assessment Date
D. Raimondo
A species that was recorded as common across the Karoo in the 1970s with a historic extent of occurrence of 53 060 km². There have been only had two recent records, despite extensive surveys within its range taking place as part of the Great Escarpment Biodiversity Project (2005-2010) and the Karoo BioGaps Project (2015-2017). It is suspected that this species has experienced significant declines due to habitat degradation as a result of livestock overgrazing and increasing occurrence of droughts. The degree of the declines are difficult to quantify and could range from between 20 and 80% of the population declining in the past three generations. Generation length for this large arid shrub suspected to be 15- 20 years. This species therefore qualifies as Data Deficient.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape
De Aar to Beaufort West and east to Cradock.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Nama Karoo
Karroid plains and slopes.
There is ongoing degradation of this species habitat as a result of livestock overgrazing and drought. In addition, shale gas fracking was proposed in 2015 for the Karoo region covering the majority of this species' range. Subpopulations on flats would be most vulnerable to habitat loss to infrastructure development related to fracking, and this species would decline in future if fracking goes ahead. A Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment submitted to South Africa's Department of Environment Affairs in 2016 cautioned against moving ahead with Shale Gas fracking based on the very high infrastructure costs associated with fracking as well as multiple secondary negative impacts both to biodiversity and other economic activities in the region. Furthermore geological studies that have taken place since 2016 have found that gas deposits are not as substantial as originally suspected due to the very old age of the Karroo shale formations and the dolerite intrusions that occur throughout the Karoo having resulted in much of the gas being lost. At present, future development scenarios are too uncertain to estimate the potential extent of the impact on the population but it is unlikely that shale gas fracking will proceed in the near future.

Described by J.H. Acocks in the 1970s as a common Karoo plant but not recorded during the BioGaps surveys which took place within its range between 2015 and 2019.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Othonna pavonia E.Mey.Least Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Magee, A.R. and Boatwright, J.S. (eds). In prep. Plants of the Karoo: A Conspectus of the Nama-Karoo and Adjacent Summer-Rainfall Regions of the Northern and Western Cape Provinces. Strelitzia.

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. 2019. Othonna pavonia E.Mey. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/11/28

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Distribution map

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