Trident Spiderhead back at Rondevlei after 60 years absence

05 Aug 2014 Posted by in Environment, News and Events | 4 comments

Serruria trilopha, otherwise known as the Sand Serruria (or Trident Spiderhead) is a a type of Protea with a limited distribution on the lowlands between Cape Town and Malmesbury. It has a patchy distribution and is globally listed as “Critically Endangered”, which means it is threatened with potential extinction if the present threats against it continue.

The species was recorded in the Grassy Park area near Zeekoevlei up until the early 1950’s after which it was lost due to urban sprawl, draining of wetlands and alien vegetation. The nearest population that survives clings to remnants of natural vegetation at the military base near Goodwood, adjacent to the N1. Cuttings of these plants were successfully grown by Geert Sprangers of the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Management Branch and in July were planted at Rondevlei.

These plants represent a new population for this critically endangered species in its former range and an attempt to conserve this part of our natural heritage for future generations. The plants produce pink and yellow flowers at the end of long stalks in spring and are resprouters; in other words they survive fire events by coming back from a persistent underground root stock.

Anyone wanting to meet this plant in the flesh (so to speak!) can do so after the bird ringing which happens on the morning of the second Sat of the month at 8:00 – 11:30at the Rondevlei entrance (ie sat 9 Aug).


Serruria trilopha


This is one of the newly plants Serruria‘s at Rondevlei. Not much too look at now, but in a few years time it will have a mass display of pink & yellow flowers in spring time. At the end of the stalk the three flowers can be seen which gives the plant its name of “Trident Spiderhead”.

  1. Siva Moodley08-05-14


  2. Vanessa08-05-14

    Great news Dalton. Can these also be planted in gardens?

    • Dalton Gibbs08-05-14

      Hi Vanessa
      Probably not as they are quite specific about their habitat requirements. I have never seen this species (or similar in horticulture).

  3. Trevor08-06-14

    I’m sure Ive seen this a lot in the dunes of Strandfontein. Not on the beach though, it was the dunes behind my house which bordered on the Philipi farms.

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