Skip to content

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies.

No, give me more info

Leucospermum conocarpodendron

Tree pincushion

About the plant

Leucospermum conocarpodendron is endemic to the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. It has two subspecies, L.conocarpodendron subsp. viridium (green tree pincushion) and L.conocarpodendron subsp. conocarpodendron (grey tree pincushion).

  • Not yet evaluated

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of the world’s species. The ongoing mission is to evaluate every plant species in the world.

    IUCN Red List Status:

    Not yet evaluated
    Data deficient
    Least concern
    Near threatened
    Vulnerable
    Endangered
    Critically endangered
    Extinct in the wild
    Extinct
  • Banked in the MSB
    Seeds from this plant have been banked in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, at Wakehurst in Sussex
  • Invertebrate food
    Plant is eaten by native and feral animals
  • Material
    Plant provides materials for manufacturing either fibre or timber
  • Medicine
    Plant or components of this plant are used in medicine
  • Click on icon to reveal more

Facts

  • Seeds are dispersed by ants
  • Pollinated by sugarbirds and sunbirds
  • Used for firewood during the 1700s
  • Used in treating dysentery
  • Habitat lost to urbanisation and alien plants

200 year old seed

Seeds of fynbos species are known to be long lived. Our specimen of subsp. conocarpodendron took 200 years to find its way to Kew.

In 2005 a researcher found some seeds at The National Archives that had been collected in 1803 and then confiscated by the British Navy. The seeds had been kept in the Tower of London, then Chancery Lane and at The National Archives, before coming to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.

There, Kew’s scientists managed to germinate a few seeds, 200 years after they had been collected. One of the resulting plants can now be seen in the Temperate House.


Two subspecies

There are two subspecies, viridum and conocarpodendron. Both have bright, golden yellow flowers. Subsp. viridum has green leaves with few hairs whereas subsp. conocarpodendron has many hairs on its leaves giving them a grey appearance.

Subsp. conocarpodendron is well conserved within the Table Mountain National Park. However there is a danger of cross pollination with subsp. viridum which people have planted in their nearby gardens. This would contaminate the gene pool and subsp. conocarpodendron could be permanently changed or even wiped out.

Ants store the seeds in their nests where they remain dormant until a fire triggers germination
  • Not yet evaluated

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of the world’s species. The ongoing mission is to evaluate every plant species in the world.

    IUCN Red List Status:

    Not yet evaluated
    Data deficient
    Least concern
    Near threatened
    Vulnerable
    Endangered
    Critically endangered
    Extinct in the wild
    Extinct
  • Banked in the MSB
    Seeds from this plant have been banked in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, at Wakehurst in Sussex
  • Invertebrate food
    Plant is eaten by native and feral animals
  • Material
    Plant provides materials for manufacturing either fibre or timber
  • Medicine
    Plant or components of this plant are used in medicine
  • Click on icon to reveal more