Hottentot Sugarbush

Scientific Name
Protea lacticolor Salisb.
Higher Classification
Common Names
Hottentot Sugarbush (e), Hottentot White Sugarbush (e), Hottentot's Holland Sugarbush (e), Hottentot-suikerbos (a), Witsuikerbos (a), Witsuikerboskan (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
This is a range-restricted species, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) 1860 km², and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 128 km². It is naturally fragmented and known from six to eight locations. The northern subpopulations appear to be in decline for unknown reasons. The habitat is densely invaded with alien pine trees at some subpopulations.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Western Cape
Bain's Kloof to Hottentots Holland Mountains.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Elgin Shale Fynbos, Cape Winelands Shale Fynbos, Boland Granite Fynbos, Western Coastal Shale Band Vegetation
This species is most common on high altitude shale bands on south and east aspects, often occurring on stream banks, at 400-1500 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 birds.
Much of the shale bands where this species occurs is densely invaded with alien invasive Pinus and Hakea trees. Protea lacticolor is a good cut flower and is cultivated for the cut flower industry. Plants are likely to hybridize with planted plants (any other White Sugarbush). The northern subpopulations are declining for reasons that are unknown.

This taxon is highly social, occurring in dense, almost impenetrable thicket. It is known from 16 subpopulations that are naturally fragmented. The largest subpopulation has over 72000 mature individuals.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Protea lacticolor Salisb.EN B1ab(i)+2ab(i)Raimondo et al. (2009)

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.

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 lacticolor Salisb. 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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