South Africa’s Plants

South Africa has a significant number of indigenous (or native) plant species: about 20,000 in total. The Red List of South African Plants (Raimondo et al. 2009) tells us which of these species are under threat.

Nearly a quarter (or 25%) of South African plants are either:

  • Threatened with extinction: this means that there are so few plants left that they are in danger of dying out (or becoming extinct); or
  • Of conservation concern: this means that people are worried that the numbers of these plants are decreasing. These plants may become threatened with extinction if we do not look after them now.

In the whole of South Africa:

  • 39 species of plants (or 0.2% of all plants) are already extinct;
  • 2,569 species of plants (12.6%) are threatened with extinction; and
  • 2,409 species of plants (11.8%) are of conservation concern.