Smooth-leaf Tree Sceptre

Scientific Name
Paranomus bracteolaris Salisb. ex Knight
Higher Classification
Paranomus medius (R.Br.) Kuntze
Common Names
Afveebos (a), Balbyterbos (a), Bokkeveld Tree Sceptre (e), Bokkeveld-septerboom (a), Haakbos (a), Heuningbos (a), Kloofbesem (a), Perdebos (a), Smooth-leaf Tree Sceptre (e), Sousbos (a), Trosbos (a), Vliegbos (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Near Threatened B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Assessment Date
A.G. Rebelo, H. Mtshali & L. von Staden
Paranomus bracteolaris has a restricted range, with an Extent of Occurrence of 6839 km², and an Area of Occupancy of 1288 km². It is declining due to ongoing habitat loss to rooibos tea cultivation, but occurs at more than 10 locations, and therefore nearly meets the thresholds for Vulnerable under criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape, Western Cape
Paranomus bracteolaris occurs from the Bokkeveld Escarpment near Nieuwoudtville in the Northern Cape southwards to the Olifants River Mountains and Koue Bokkeveld in the Western Cape.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Cederberg Sandstone Fynbos, Nardouw Sandstone Fynbos, Olifants Sandstone Fynbos, Graafwater Sandstone Fynbos, Bokkeveld Sandstone Fynbos, Swartruggens Quartzite Fynbos
It occurs in sandy places in sandstone fynbos, 280-1600 m. Mature individuals are killed by fires, and only seeds survive. Seeds are released after ripening, and dispersed by ants to their underground nests, where they are protected from predation and fire. It is pollinated by insects.
This species' preferred habitat is targeted for rooibos tea cultivation, and there has been extensive expansion of rooibos tea cultivation on the Bokkeveld Escarpment, Gifberg, eastern Cederberg and in the Olifants River Valley since the early 1990s. Currently, at least 14% of its habitat is irreversibly modified, and loss continues. Other threats noted during field surveys include habitat loss to infrastructure development, competition from alien invasive plants, an inappropriate fire management. A large proportion (about 60%) of the population is protected in the Cederberg Wilderness Area, where it is not under any threat.

P. bracteolaris occurs in dense stands and as scattered individuals over large areas (Rebelo 2001). A continuing decline is inferred from ongoing habitat loss outside protected areas, but this species is still common, remaining at more than 100 locations.

Population trend
It the southern end of its distribution range, P. bracteolaris is difficult to distinguish from P. lagopus. Further taxonomic study is needed.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Paranomus bracteolaris Salisb. ex KnightLeast Concern 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. Paranomus bracteolaris Salisb. ex Knight. 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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