The Red List of South Africa is a useful tool for assessing conservation priorities, and furthermore, provides insight into areas where information is lacking and future research thrusts are needed. Succulents are prone to threats from overharvesting, and also have an unusually high number of species classified as Data Deficient due to lack of information. Our analyses show that in South Africa, the Asphodelaceae are the most threatened of the succulent plant families and are therefore most in need of conservation attention. Mesembryanthemaceae have the highest proportion of (and highest number of) Data Deficient species and are therefore most in need of future research efforts. It is concluded that succulents are particularly vulnerable to threats because of their relatively slow growth compared with other herbaceous plants, coupled with their desirability in the horticultural industry.
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Vol. 2011 • No. 29