Kew 250 Logo
Leguminosae: Aspalathus variegata

Zeyher, 429


Aspalathus variegata

Original Distribution

South Africa, Cape Province


The majority prefers Table Mountain Sandstone substrates.

Extinction Data

IUCN = Extinct Listed 1989, Listed Extinct by WCMC 1996


Species is a perennial shrub. Plants are prostrate, ascending or erect, often with thorny branches. Leaves are single or in threes and without a stalk or stipules. The leaves often appear as dense clusters. Leaflets varying from flat to rounded are often spine-tipped. Flowers are mainly yellow. They are borne in groups. The typical pea flower consists of a standard, wings and a keel petal. Stamens unite basally for three quarters to form a split sheath. Of the 10 anthers, 5 are short and dorsifixed, 4 long and basifixed and one usually intermediate. The pistil consists of a unilocular ovary, an upcurved or straight style and a capitate stigma.

Seed Data

The pod is usually compressed with one to several seeds.

Specimen Type (Y/N)


Kew Herbcat Barcode Number




Collector Number


Other Information

Habitat destruction due to housing development and farming activities have led to many species becoming threatened or endangered. Aspalathus variegata last collected in 1898 on the Cape Flats near Raapenburg is probably extinct.

Information Sources

Hall, A.V., de Winter, M., de Winter, B. and Oosterhout, S.A.M. (1980). Threatened plants of Southern Africa. South African National Scientific Programmes Report no. 45. pp 46.Hall, A.V. & Veldhuis, H.A. (1985) South African Red Data Book: plants Fynbos and Karoo biomes. CSIR, Pretoria, South African National Scientific Programmes Report no 117.Hilton-Taylor, C. (1996) Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. Pretoria, South Africa, National Botanic Institute.Walter, K.S. and Gillett, H.J. (eds) (1998). 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre IUCN The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, Extinct Plant Species of the World IUCN Survey and preliminary report: April 1989