Wednesday 22 May
Erica (Erica verticillata)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Erica fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Last collected from the wild during the early 20th century, and believed to be extinct up until 1984, Erica verticillata has, through the collaborative efforts of several conservationists, become something of a conservation success story (2) (4) (5). It is a striking shrub that produces beautiful, mauve-pink tubular flowers towards the ends of sturdy branches. The flowers and leaves are arranged in neat whorls, hence the specific epithet ‘verticillata’, which means whorled (2) (4).
- Height: up to 1.5 m (2)
Historically, E. verticillata occurred naturally on the Cape flats of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, from the Black River in Mowbray to Zeekoeivlei on the False Bay coast (2) (5). Today, a small number of specimens have been replanted in the wild at Rondevlei Nature Reserve and the Kenilworth Race Course (4) (5).Top
Classified as Extinct in the Wild (EW) on the Interim Red Data List of South African Plant Taxa (3).Top
Having once grown profusely on the Cape Flats, E. verticillata probably became extinct in the wild during the early 20thcentury when the expansion of urban and agricultural development in Cape Town destroyed most of this species’ habitat (4). However, during the 1980s and 1990s, a number of living specimens were discovered in botanical gardens in South Africa and Europe. Following the successful cultivation of clones of the original specimens, E. verticillata has become a popular garden plant, and has been reintroduced to two conservation areas (2) (4) (5).Top
Erica verticillata has become a flagship species for the Cape flora of South Africa, as it symbolizes the plight of the region’s vanishing species (4). The Cape Floristic Region contains nearly 9,000 plant species, most of which are found nowhere else in the world. This unique area is thus highly valued for its incredible diversity in plants, and there are a number of protected areas, and a number of conservation organisations are working to conserve this botanically rich habitat. Conservation actions include purchasing land to protect it from the threats of encroaching agriculture and urban development, the removal of alien plants, and the establishment of new protected areas (6) (7) (8).Top
Find out more
To find out more about the conservation of Erica verticillata, see:
The Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- The natural shrubland vegetation occurring in the southwestern and southern Cape of South Africa, holding the greatest diversity of plant species in the world. Fynbos is characterised by tall shrubs with large leaves, heath-like shrubs, wiry reed-like plants, and bulbous herbs.
Species 2000 ITIS Catalogue of Life (August, 2009)
PlantzAfrica (March, 2010)
Threatened Species Programme. (2009) Interim Red Data List of South African Plant Taxa. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa. Available at:
The Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area (March, 2010)
Rotal Botanic Gardens, Kew (March, 2010)
Conservation International: Biodiversity Hotspots (March, 2010)
UNEP-WCMC: Cape Floral Protected Areas of South Africa (March, 2010)
Fauna and Flora International (March, 2010)
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.