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Erica verticillata

Whorl heath

About the plant

This pink heather has been considered extinct in the wild for over 50 years, but is on the brink of being restored to the wild in South Africa.

  • 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
  • Click on icon to reveal more

Facts

  • Grows near rivers and wetlands
  • Picked for the flower seller's market
  • Needle-like leaves
  • Tubular flowers
  • Lost and rediscovered

Back in the game

A cultivated specimen of Erica verticillata was rediscovered in a park in Pretoria in 1984. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden led a campaign to repropagate the species. Nine distinct clones were found in gardens across the world, offering genetic diversity for the future of this heather.

While it remains extinct in the wild if it survives through three  natural burn cycles (fires), without restocking or replanting, it can be considered ‘restored to the wild’.


Role of botanical gardens

Botanical gardens play a vital role in preserving a species. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, on the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain, propagated and grew thousands of Erica verticillata and reintroduced them into the wild over several years.

Habitat loss from the expansion of Cape Town
  • 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
  • Click on icon to reveal more