Gunpowder Plant

Scientific Name
Silene burchellii Otth subsp. burchellii
Higher Classification
Silene thunbergiana Eckl. & Zeyh. ex Sond.
Common Names
Gunpowder Plant (e), Ho-batla (ss), Igwayintombi Elincane (z), Injuju (z), Iyeza Lehashe (x), Kopane (ss), Kruitbossie (a), Lithokoano (ss), Motebane (ss), Umthusi (z)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
EOO 9200 km², an estimated 10 to 15 locations continue to decline due to ongoing habitat loss and competition from alien invasive plants.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Darling to the Cape Peninsula and Agulhas Plain.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Shale or loamy soils in renosterveld, as well as sandstone and limestone fynbos.
This species was last recorded in the Darling area in 1905, and is likely to have declined due to habitat loss to crop cultivation. Small remaining renosterveld fragments need to be surveyed to determine if any subpopulations survive. Between the Cape Peninsula and the Tygerberg Hills, it has declined in the past, and continues to decline due to habitat loss to urban expansion. Along the coast between Hangklip and the Agulhas Plain, habitat loss to coastal development continues, and subpopulations are being outcompeted by unmanaged alien invasive plants.

This subspecies is rarely collected and poorly known. Most records are from the Cape Peninsula, but all are than 50 years old, and locality descriptions are often not precise enough to determine whether the subpopulation is likely to survive or not. Surveys are needed to determine the size and extent of the remaining population.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Silene burchellii Otth subsp. burchellii NT B1ab(iii,v)2014.1
Silene thunbergiana Eckl. & Zeyh. ex Sond.Data Deficient (Taxonomically Problematic) Raimondo et al. (2009)

Manning, J.C. and Goldblatt, P. 2012. A taxonomic revision of the southern African native and naturalized species of Silene L. (Caryophyllaceae). Bothalia 42(2):147-186.

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.

von Staden, L. 2014. Silene burchellii Otth subsp. burchellii. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/05/17

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Distribution map

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