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The Critically Endangered Caledon Conebush

25 Aug 2021

The critically endangered Caledon conebush, Leucadendron salteri subsp. elimense, occurs in an area of less than 9 km², in four small, severely fragmented subpopulations. It continues to decline due to alien plant invasion, ongoing habitat loss to agriculture, and wildflower harvesting. Most subpopulations are on isolated fragments among crop fields in the Bot River Valley, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Shaw’s Pass, and only one is formally conserved, the one found in Craigantlet Nature Reserve situated near the town of Bot River.

Leucadendron elimense subsp. salteri. elimense is a shrub growing up to 1.5m and is sparsely branched. It is a dioecious plant, meaning the female and male flowers are on separate plants. It flowers between August and September and is pollinated by insects. The parent plants are killed by fire, but the seeds are stimulated by fire to germinate.

Reference: Protea Atlas https://www.proteaatlas.org.za...

Caledon conebush, Leucadendron salteri subsp. elimense, beneath Eskom powerlines (Photo: A. Brink).

A Caledon conebush seedling (Photo: A. Brink).

A male Caledon conebush plant near an agricultural field (Photo: S.D. Gildenhuys).

An almost dried up male Caledon conebush flower head (Photo: S.D. Gildenhuys).

The female Caledon conebush flower head (Photo: A. Brink).

A male Caledon conebush flowerhead (Photo: S.D. Gildenhuys).

A young Caledon conebush plant (Photo: S.D. Gildenhuys).

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