Distribution in the Succulent Karoo Biome

written on Dec 25, 2018 and last revised on Jul 02, 2020

The most distinctive character of the Succulent Karoo Biome is the high diversity of dwarf leaf-succulent shrubs (1,700 species). The biome covers an interrupted belt of unequal depth spanning the coastal regions near Lüderitz (Namibia), Namaqualand, the Hantam, Tanqua and Roggeveld region as well as the Little Karoo.

Yellow identifies the Succulent Karoo Biome.
Yellow identifies the Succulent Karoo Biome.

The Succulent Karoo Biome covers a large area characterised by complex geology. Pedogenic diversification is a hallmark of arid environments and is supposedly one of the major driving forces of diversification of flora and vegetation in these climatically extreme ecosystems.

A Conophytum in bloom
@ Jarod Hutson
A Conophytum in bloom

The Succulent Karoo is a semidesert region with a strong maritime influence characterised by an even, mild climate. Most of the biome falls within a typical unimodal winter-rainfall region (Namaqualand and the western Great Escarpment), while the greater Little Karoo region shows either all-year-round precipitation or bimodal precipitation regimes.

H. viscosa in its native habitat
@ S Molteno
H. viscosa in its native habitat