Scientific Name
Phymaspermum scoparium (DC.) Källersjö
Higher Classification
Brachymeris scoparia DC.
National Status
Status and Criteria
Data Deficient - Insufficient Information
Assessment Date
D. Raimondo
A widespread endemic to the Eastern Karoo (EOO 16784 km²). There have been no recent collections of this species which may indicate that the species is declining. All collections were made prior to 1975. 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 20 to 80%, of the populations declining in the past three generations. Generation length for this arid shrub suspected to be 15- 20 years. This species therefore qualifies as Data Deficient.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Northern Cape
Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape to Hanover in the Northern Cape.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Eastern Upper Karoo, Northern Upper Karoo, Southern Karoo Riviere
Floodplains and seasonally moist places.
There is ongoing degradation of this species habitat as a result of livestock overgrazing and drought. Large-scale 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.

This species is poorly known and rarely collected (Ruiters et al. 2016). Its distribution range is botanically poorly explored, and it may be overlooked. It is possibly a localized habitat specialist, but field surveys are needed to confirm this. The most recent field observations of this species dates from 1974.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Phymaspermum scoparium (DC.) KällersjöLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Källersjo, M. 1985. Fruit structure and generic delimitation of Athanasia (Asteraceae-Anthemideae) and related South African genera. Nordic Journal of Botany 5:527-542.

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.

Ruiters, A.K., Tilney, P.M., Van Wyk, B.E. and Magee, A.R. 2016. Taxonomy of the Genus Phymaspermum (Asteraceae, Anthemideae). Systematic Botany 41(2):430-456.

Raimondo, D. 2019. Phymaspermum scoparium (DC.) Källersjö. 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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