Scientific Name
Peersia frithii (L.Bolus) L.Bolus
Higher Classification
Mesembryanthemum frithii L.Bolus, Rhinephyllum frithii (L.Bolus) L.Bolus
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable B1ab(iii,iv,v)
Assessment Date
D. Raimondo
A species previously collected widely throughout the southern of the Karoo with an historic extent of occurrence (EOO) of 28913 km². It has only been recorded seven times since 1990, and is suspected to be extant at 6 locations from a current EOO of 690 km². Decline is suspected to be the result of livestock overgrazing and trampling. This species therefore qualifies as Vulnerable under criterion B. The generation length is unknown hence an A criterion listing is not possible.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape
Laingsburg to Aberdeen.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Nama Karoo
Slopes or flats of finely weathered Ecca shales.
Large-scale shale gas fracking was proposed in 2015 for the Karoo basin covering the majority of this species' range. 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 original suspected due to the very old age of the Karroo shale formations and the fact that the extensive number of dolerite intrusions throughout the Karoo have 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 also grazed by livestock and there are very few recent collections (only seven records collected since 1990) which is likely to indicate that the population has already declined extensively due to livestock overgrazing.

There is limited data on the population structure and trends, only seven records of this species have been made since 1990 and it was not found in any of the surveys of the Karoo BioGaps project that sampled widely across the Karoo Basin between 2015 and 2018. We suspect that there has been a significant decline over the past 80 years due to livestock overgrazing and trampling.

Population trend
Peersia is a poorly known genus in need of taxonomic revision. Species are difficult to identify with certainty.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Peersia frithii (L.Bolus) L.BolusLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Bolus, H.M.L. 1928-1935. Notes on Mesembrianthemum and allied genera. Part II. Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town, Cape Town.

Bredenkamp, C. In prep. Conspectus of the flora of the Eastern cape. 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.

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

Raimondo, D. 2019. Peersia frithii (L.Bolus) L.Bolus. 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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