Red Data List
South African Plant Taxa

The Red Data List of South African plants is a list that includes all the plant taxa that have been assessed according to their risk of extinction in the near future.

The Microsoft Excel file, "TSP LIST", provides the Red Data List with various assessments:

  • The first assessments were made in 1996 by Craig Hilton-Taylor using IUCN Red listing Criteria modified from Davis (1986).
  • In 2002, Janine Victor reassessed 25% of South Africa's threatened flora using IUCN Version 2.3 criteria and these assessments are also included in "THE LIST".
  • While the accompanying Red Data list represents a thorough examination of the majority of threatened plant species in South Africa, we are currently working on updating, expanding and improving this list, making use of the new IUCN Red List Criteria (Versions 3.0 & 3.1). Hence we provide a summary for each taxon of its most up-to-date Red List status (in April 2004) and suggest that this be used until the new Red Data List is produced (end of 2005).

Download Interim red data list (TSP LIST) as a zipped .xls file (352kb)
(You need have Microsoft Excel installed to open, search and filter this file as instructed below.)

Extracts from this list are provided below as .pdf files for users without Microsoft Excel.

Threatened Plants by Taxon (450kb)
Threatened Plants by Family (450kb)
Threatened Plants by Threat (448kb)

Threatened Plants by Province

  • Eastern Cape (96kb)
  • Free State (32kb)
  • Gauteng (32kb)
  • KwaZulu-Natal (32kb)
  • Limpopo (64kb)
  • Mpumalanga (64kb)
  • Northern Cape (96 kb)
  • North West (32 kb)
  • Western Cape (256 kb)

The red data " TSP LIST" contains the following columns

Taxon - The first two words give the Latin genus and species names respectively. In some cases a species variant (var.) or a subspecies (subsp.) has also been assessed. The words thereafter give the name of the person who first recorded and published a description of the species.

Synonym - If the plant has recently been renamed or reclassified then this was its old taxon name.

Family - The family is the larger group to which the species belongs.

Hilton-Taylor 1996 - This column contains the Red List Assessments made by Craig Hilton-Taylor in 19962. For an explanation of the categories see reference 4

Victor 2002 - These are the most recently published Red List Assessments, carried out by Janine Victor in 2002/3 for about 25% of South African threatened plant taxa. For further explanation of the categories see reference 4 and the accompanying worksheet Categories - Vers 2.3.

Summary - The most up-to-date Red List Assessment for the species.

SA Endemic - This indicates if the species can only be found in South Africa. The complete list of SA endemics has not yet been completed, so if you spot any errors in this column please let us know.

Rarity - This column is an estimate of whether the species is rare.

Assessor - The person that has conducted the most recent Red List Assessment: CHT: Craig Hilton Taylor (1996); JEV: Janine E. Victor (2002).

Provinces in which the species occurs - If a species occurs in a particular province a cross (X) is placed in the column corresponding to that province. NC: Northern Cape; WC: Western Cape; EC: Eastern Cape; KZ: Kwazulu-Natal; MP: Mpumalanga; LP: Limpopo; NW: North West Province; GP: Gauteng; FS: Free State.

Searching and Filtering the List ( Microsoft Excel versions)

If you'd like to search for a specific group of species, for example all those that occur in Gauteng Province, you can filter the list in the following way:

1. Select the column containing the data that you wish to search (e.g. column T, headed GP)"
2. From the toolbar select "Data" and then select "Filter" from the dropdown menu.
3. Then select "Autofilter" from the available options.
4. A small arrow indicating a dropdown menu will appear in the header row of the column.
5. Click on this arrow and select the option that you are looking for (e.g. click "X" to bring up all the species that occur in Gauteng). This produces a new list containing only the species with the value that you are looking for.
6. You can refine this filtered list further (e.g. to find all species in both Gauteng and Mpumalanga) by repeating the process using another column.
7. When you want to return to the full list, click on the "Data" toolbar and once again, select "Filter". Click on the arrow next to "Autofilter" to deactivate the filter option.


  1. Hilton-Taylor C. 1996. Red Data List of southern African plants. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria: Strelitzia 4.
  2. Davis, S.D., Droop, S.J.M., Gregerson, P., Henson, L., Leon, C.J., Vila-Lobos, J.L., Synge, H. & Zantovska, J. (1986). Plants in danger: what do we know? IUCN, Gland.
  3. Victor J.E. in Golding J.S. (Ed.). 2002. Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 14. Pretoria.
  4. and accompanying worksheet "Categories - Version 2.3".
  5. and accompanying worksheet "Categories - Version 3.1".

If you have any problems with this site, or you wish to obtain more information on threatened plants, please contact us at

For more information see the IUCN red data website at

Produced by the Threatened Species Programme (TSP)
in collaboration with the National Botanical Institute (NBI), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism (DEAT)


© South African National Biodiversity Institute SANBI Home