Ensuring the survival of endangered
plants in the Mediterranean

Hypericum aegypticum located again in West Crete!

Hypericum aegypticum is a dwarf shrub that grows on calcareous coastal cliffs and has a restricted Mediterranean distribution. It is represented in Crete by subsp. webbii, which also occurs in the western Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands, Sardenia, Lambedusa (Sicily) and Malta. Two other subspecies occur in North Africa, subsp. aegypticum  in Libya and subsp. maroccanum in Morocco and Algeria.
Hypericum aegypticum subsp. webbii
Hypericum aegypticum subsp. webbii (Photo: MPCU, MAICh)

In Crete H. aegypticum is very localised, known only in two areas, the Akrotiri peninsula in West Crete and near Siteia in East Crete. In the Akrotiri peninsula one population was reported in 1966 but ten years later was considered likely to have gone extinct due to the presence of garbage dumps. However, it was located by the MAICh team in a small gorge of the peninsula in 1998 and once again this year. Found on the coastal cliffs, it was a majestic sighting and of course it was worth all the effort climbing down there.
Biotope of  Hypericum aegypticum
Biotope of  Hypericum aegypticum: a small gorge in Akrotiri Peninsula, West Crete (Photo: MPCU, MAICh)

A seed collection was made this year for ex situ conservation in the MAICh Seed Bank. It should be noted that the single known location of H. aegypticum in West Crete remains undisturbed by human intervention although it is in a sensitive area very close to military areas, Chania Airport and a garbage treatment plant.

Posted at Jul 08, 2013 | By : | Tags : Hypericum aegypticum Crete