Tulista pumila

Assessor: Sarah Schumann

Sensitive in 2010
Reason for the sensitivity status
This species and others of the genus are targeted and removed from the wild for horticultural and traditional medicine purposes, causing population decline. Subpopulations are morphologically distinct making the species more vulnerable to population loss. Regeneration potential is low as subpopulations will not replenish once removed. Releasing data on this species can exacerbate threat and vulnerability.
This species is threatened by widespread, unregulated, unsustainable exploitation of wild populations. The localities of remaining populations need to be protected to avoid any further exploitation, which is likely to drive it to extinction.
Exploitation extent
Significant - wild individuals of the species are known to be exploited, collected, traded or utilized in a targeted manner, and utilisation is widespread, affects the majority of wild populations and/or is causing rapid decline of the wild population.
Justification and references

According to the SANBI Red List Assessment, this species is of Least Concern as it is range-restricted but not thought to be threatened (von Staden, 2014). This taxon is highly desirable and sought after and has become rare due to over-collecting and other threats (Vlok & Raimondo, 2012). This species and several others of this genus were among those targeted and confiscated from illegal plant collecting (Confiscation Lists (2016-2021) provided by Karoo Desert Botanic Garden, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and Cape Nature). Subpopulations have been systematically cleared out for horticultural and traditional medicine purposes, causing overall population decline (Molteno. S, personal communication 2022, 15 June).This suggests that this genus and species is being targeted and that this species is at risk of over-exploitation.

von Staden, L. 2014. Tulista pumila (L.) G.D.Rowley. 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 has an extent of occurrence of 5832 km² (von Staden, 2014). It is currently widespread but subpopulations are morphologically distinct making them vulnerable to population loss (Molteno. S, personal communication 2022, 15 June).

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 and subpopulations are removed from the wild.

Regeneration potential
This species has a slow population growth rate, or the growth rate varies depending on habitat, and there is a poor chance the wild populations will recover from exploitation OR a collector might feasibly harvest the entire extant population removing the chance of subsequent recruitment.
Justification and references

Low. The plants are slow-growing and long-lived, while the germination rate in habitat is low on average and seedlings have a high mortality rate. Moreover, this species does not form seed banks; the seeds being viable for a year or two at most.  
The seeds are wind-dispersed, but to a very moderate degree, as the seeds generally do not travel more than a few meters from the parent plant. Individual subpopulations that are geographically separated to any degree are therefore vulnerable; Should they die out or be removed, they are unlikely to be re-established from surrounding subpopulations. 
A number of subpopulations are small and extremely isolated geographically. Should any of these subpopulations die out, their chance of being re-established, without human intervention, is effectively zero.

 (Molteno. S, personal communication 2022, 15 June).