Erica verticillata: a rare plant in the wild


We may have one of the world’s richest floral kingdoms (The Cape Floristic Region) here in the Cape, but with one in six plants being declared critically rare or endangered it is sadly one of the most threatened.

A lot of work is being done to save these endangered species and the plant above (Erica verticillata) is one of those success stories.

“The story of Erica verticillata is unique in the annals of plant conservation in South Africa. It was regarded as extinct in the wild, or ‘perhaps exterminated’ (Adamson & Salter 1950), by the second half of the 20th century. It was rediscovered in a park in Pretoria in 1984 and, since then, in various botanical gardens around the world and brought back into cultivation at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The species has become one of Kirstenbosch’s flagship conservation species and has been re-established to three Sand Plain Fynbos reserves within the urban sprawl of Cape Town. These include Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area and the Tokai Park under management of the South African National Parks. Its status remains Extinct in the Wild and will be re-assessed when it has survived three burn cycles in the wild without restocking or replanting.”  (Extract from

Happily in a previous post here, I can boast of having a couple of these rare plants in our backyard – which in turn attract the sunbirds and their valuable pollination services.

WPC: Rare


10 thoughts on “Erica verticillata: a rare plant in the wild

    1. Hoping to get some cuttings going. The local botanical gardens have been doing a sterling job in getting it re-established. It’s quite a story in how they managed to get hold of existing specimen – as far afield as Tresco Gardens in Scilly.

  1. For far too long South Africans have generally tended to overlook our indigenous plants in favour of those from abroad for their gardens. I love ‘plant indigenous’ people!

  2. An inspiring success story for a plant that hopefully will continue to flourish. I think there is a tendency to pay more attention to endangered fauna and forget that plants came first.

    1. Thankfully there is stirling work being done to save some plant species. Too late in some cases and I agree with you that attention is focused more on fauna. Sadly Cape Town has the dubious reputation of being the extinction capital of the world. The fragile web of biodiversity is threatened along with losing the plants…. Sad!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.