Snow Protea

Scientific Name
Protea cryophila Bolus
Higher Classification
Common Names
Sneeublom (a), Sneeuprotea (a), Snow Protea (e), Snowball Protea (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable D2
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Protea cryophila occupy a small area (AOO 68 km²), four subpopulations are potentially threatened by too frequent fire and climate change. Plants are slow to mature and therefore particularly sensitive to increased fire frequency. Although the habitat is untransformed and continuous between locations, subpopulations are isolated.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Cederberg Sandstone Fynbos
This species occurs in rocky ledges and screes, at 900-1900 m. Mature individuals are killed by fires, and only seeds survive. Wind-dispersed seeds are stored in fire-resistant inflorescences, and released after fires. It is pollinated by rodents.
Currently, there are no threats to this species, but as a reseeder and slow growing, it is potentially threatened by increasing high frequency of fires, as local extinctions can occur when fires repeatedly kill individuals before they reach reproductive maturity.

This species is locally common and naturally fragmented on half a dozen high peaks. There four known subpopulations, the largest at Langberg/Shadow Peak with over 23000 mature individuals. It is not suspected to be declining, and most of its habitat is in a protected area.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea cryophila BolusNT D2Raimondo et al. (2009)
Protea cryophila BolusRare Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

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.

Rebelo, T. 2001. Sasol Proteas: A field guide to the proteas of southern Africa. (2nd ed.). Fernwood Press, Vlaeberg, Cape Town.

Rebelo, A.G., Mtshali, H. & von Staden, L. 2019. Protea cryophila Bolus. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2023/12/03

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Distribution map

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