The rediscovery of the Great Winterberg endemic Lotononis harveyi B.–E.van Wyk after 147 years, and notes on the poorly known Amathole endemic Macowania revoluta Oliv. (southern Great Escarpment, South Africa)

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 15
  • Abstract:

    South Africa’s 800 km-long southern Great Escarpment hosts numerous endemic plant species only known from their type specimens or from very few records. This is a legacy of a 100–150 year lag between the pioneer work of 19th century botanists and repeat fieldwork in the 21st century. As a result, population and ecological data are lacking for many local endemic species. Here we report on the rediscovery of Lotononis harveyi B.–E.van Wyk 147 years after its original description, and provide the first detailed ecological notes on the poorly known shrub Macowania revoluta Oliv. Both species are locally endemic to the Great Winterberg–Amatholes (Eastern Cape Province). With only six known individuals, L. harveyi is recommended the conservation status of Critically Endangered, with fire (and potentially grazing) being the main population constraints. Macowania revoluta is locally abundant, and it is surprising that it has been so poorly collected in recent decades. It occupies an important local niche as a keystone montane wetland species, and its narrow distribution range – combined with pressure from woody alien invasive species – suggests that its conservation status should be Rare. The research further highlights the need for continued biodiversity field research along South Africa’s poorly explored Great Escarpment.