Assessor: Sarah Schumann
According to the IUCN Red List Assessment, this species is Vulnerable as it is threatened by anthropogenic climate change and is not currently threatened by illegal collection but it is likely that it will become a target in coming years as the majority of other species in the genus have been increasingly targeted and threatened with illegal collection since 2019 (Young 2022). Related species in the region have experienced high levels of population decline due to illegal collection (Young 2022). As of 2019, this genus has become popular in trade and there is a high demand from international and domestic horticultural markets for wild collected plants as indicated by media, police reports and several online marketplace, e-commerce, and auction sites (Friedman 2021; Tshuma 2021; Trenchard 2021; Hyman 2020; Young 2020). Plants of this genus were among those targeted and confiscated during recent criminal prosecutions of illegal plant collecting (Majikela 2020; Myburgh 2021) (Confiscation Lists (2019-2021) provided by Cape Nature, SANBI Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden, SANBI Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, SANParks Sendelingsdrift Botanic Garden and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment). This species is increasingly being sought after and is popular in cultivation (Young & Raimondo 2020). This suggests that this genus and species is being targeted and that this species may be threatened.
Friedman, B. 2021. 24 May 2021. South Africa targeted for rare plant poaching placing biodiversity at risk. Cape Talk. Available at: https://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/417213/south-africa-targeted-for-rare-plant-poaching-placing-biodiversity-at-risk
Hyman, A. 2020. 1 February 2020. Koreans fined R5m as poachers target SA's succulent treasure chest. Times Live. Available at: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2020-02-01-koreans-fined-r5m-as-poachers-target-sas-succulent-treasure-chest/
Majikela, M. 2020. 31 January 2020. Hefty sentencing for possession of Conophytum plants. Media Statement. South African Police Service Office of the Provincial Commissioner Western Cape. Available at: https://www.saps.gov.za/newsroommsspeechdetail.php?nid=24491
Myburgh, A. 2021. 20 January 2021. Man behind bars for possession of endangered plants (Conophytum). Media Statement South African Police Service, Office of the Provincial Commissioner North West. Available at: https://www.saps.gov.za/newsroom/msspeechdetail.php?nid=24491
Trenchard, T. 2021. 31 July 2021. In South Africa, Poachers Now Traffic in Tiny Succulent Plants. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/31/world/africa/south-africa-poachers-tiny-succulent-plants.html
Tshuma, N. 2021. 20 May 2021. Collectors drive a spike in theft of indigenous plants in the Western Cape. IOL. Available at: https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/collectors-drive-a-spike-in-theft-of-indigenous-plants-in-the-western-cape-e120f529-741b-43a7-8454-cb8f69544878
Young, A.J. 2020. Conophytum armianum S.A.Hammer. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1.
Young, A.J. & Raimondo, D. 2020. Conophytum hammeri G.Will. & H.C.Kenn. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1.
Young, A. 2022. (assessment in prep 2022)Conophytum hammeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
This species has an extent of occurrence of 323 km² and an area of occupancy of 52 km² with a population size thought to consist of more than 100 000 mature individuals (Young 2022). A future decline of between 30-45% is predicted due to climate change and illegal collection (Young 2022).
Young, A. 2022. (assessment in prep 2022) Conophytum hammeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
High levels of endemism and restricted range makes this species vulnerable to population loss (Hammer 2002; Young & Desmet 2016; Young & Rodgerson 2016). Regeneration potential for the vast majority of the Conophytum genus is very poor as recruitment is low and dependent on successive, appropriate weather conditions. Seeds are not known to disperse. Regeneration will take decades. (Young, personal communication 2021, 5 October)
Hammer, S. 2002. Dumpling and his wife: New view of the genus Conophytum. EAE Creative Colour, Norwich.
Young, A.J. and Desmet, P.G., 2016. The distribution of the dwarf succulent genus Conophytum NE Br.(Aizoaceae) in southern Africa. Bothalia-African Biodiversity & Conservation, 46(1), pp.1-13.
Young, A.J. and Rodgerson, C., 2016. The dwarf succulent genus Conophytum NE Br.: distribution, habitat and conservation. Aloe, 52(2).