Pelargonium xerophyton

Assessor: Sarah Schumann

Sensitive in 2010
Reason for the sensitivity status
This species is known to be wild collected to an insignificant extent. Several others of the genus are known to be targeted, exploited and illegally removed from the wild, causing population decline. Evidence shows that the pelargonium genus is in demand in international horticultural trade. Due to the low amount of exploitation and population sizes, recruitment and recovery may be possible.
Exploitation extent
Small or insignificant - wild individuals of the species are known to be exploited, collected, traded or utilized in a targeted manner, but utilisation is localised and/or affects only a small proportion of the wild population.
Justification and references

According to the SANBI Red List Assessment, this species is of Least Concern and not fully assessed (Foden & Potter, 2005). All the tuber Pelargoniums (section Hoarea) are exploited to some extent but this has a minimal or insignificant impact on the majority of the species due to the low amount of exploitation and population sizes (van der Walt, R personal communication, 12 August 2022). Foreign collectors will collect one our two tubers and then propagate the species under artificial conditions (van der Walt, R personal communication, 12 August 2022). Seeds are also exchanged between collectors and this is then responsible that less wild plants are collected (van der Walt, R personal communication, 12 August 2022). Collection of wild specimens are mostly confined to places close to public roads while the populations far away from public roads are rarely affected by collectors as is the case with P. xerophytum (van der Walt, R personal communication, 12 August 2022). A bigger threat to xerophytum and a range of other tuber pelargoniums are overstocking of livestock and illegal clearing of vegetation for new crops (van der Walt, R personal communication, 12 August 2022).This genus is in demand and of popular interest in international horticultural trade, as indicated by several online marketplace, e-commerce and auction sites. Plants of this genus were among those targeted and/or confiscated during recent criminal prosecutions of illegal plant collecting. There have been several recorded confiscations of this species and others of the Pelargonium genus from illegal collection (Confiscation List (2018-2022) provided by Cape Nature, SANParks Sendelingsdrift Botanic Garden, SANBI Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and Karoo Desert Botanic Garden). 

Foden, W. & Potter, L. 2005. Pelargonium xerophyton Schltr. ex R.Knuth. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. 

Population vulnerability
Population is not vulnerable: size is > 2500 mature individuals, AND the number of known subpopulations is > 5 AND range > 100km2
Justification and references

This taxon is not thought to have a vulnerable population size (van der Walt, R personal communication, 12 August 2022).

Targeted demographics
Mature (breeding) individuals are killed, significantly weakened or are permanently removed from the wild, OR immature individuals are targeted and this significantly impacts mature (breeding) individuals.
Justification and references

Whole individuals are recorded in confiscations.

Regeneration potential
This species has a fast population growth rate, and there is a good chance the wild populations will recover from exploitation.
Justification and references

As exploitation is insignificant this taxon may be able to recover.