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Brassica macrocarpa

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA CAPPARALES CRUCIFERAE

Scientific Name: Brassica macrocarpa
Species Authority: Guss.
Synonym(s):
Brassica oleracea subspecies macrocarpa (Guss.) Gladis & K.Hammer
Eruca macrocarpa (Guss.) Caruel
Taxonomic Notes: Brassica macrocarpa Guss. is a wild relative of a number of crops in the brassica group; including broccoli, B. oleracea L. var. italica Plenck, Brussels sprout, B. oleracea L. var. gemmifera (DC.) Zenker, cabbage, B. oleracea var. capitata L., cauliflower, B. oleracea var. botrytis L., kale, B. oleracea var. viridis L., swede, B. napus L. var. napobrassica (L.) Rchb., turnip, B. rapa L. ssp. rapa, and oilseed rape, B. napus L. var. napus. It is most closely related to and interfertile with B. oleracea (Branca et al. 2008, 2010; Qiu et al. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-17
Assessor(s): Branca, F. & Tribulato, A.
Reviewer(s): Nieto, A., Kell, S.P. & de Montmollin, B.
Contributor(s): Kell, S.P., Donnini, D. & Dulloo, M.E.
Justification:
Brassica macrocarpa is assessed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is less than 100 km², its area of occupancy (AOO) is less than 10 km², it is severely fragmented as it occurs in only two isolated subpopulations and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat due to grazing pressure, reforestation, construction of holiday resorts and associated improvements to the road infrastructure, as well as recreational activities and fires. The population occurs in two locations which are threatened by reforestation and building works. It also qualifies as Vulnerable under criterion D2.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: B. macrocarpa is restricted to two small islands in the Egadi archipelago (Favignana and Marettimo), located off the west coast of Sicily (Snogerup et al. 1990, Pignatti et al. 2001). At the beginning of the last century it was also present on Levanzo but it has now disappeared from this island (Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle/European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity and Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest 2006).
Its extent of occurrence (EOO0 is less than 100 km2 and its area of occupancy (AOO) is less than 10 km2.
Countries:
Native:
Italy (Sicilia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Snogerup et al. (1990) recorded three subpopulations ranging in size between 101–500 and >1,000 individuals. According to the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle/European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity and Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest (2006), the subpopulation on Favignana comprises 750 individuals, while on Marettimo it occurs at three localities and the subpopulation comprises less than 500 individuals. The subpopulation on the island of Levanzo is now extinct but the remaining two subpopulations were reported to be stable in the period 2004–2005 (Commission of the European Communities 2009) and are currently stable though at risk of fragmentation. Grazing pressure is causing a decrease in the number of new recruitments to the population.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It grows on limestone cliffs and rocky slopes close to the sea (Snogerup et al. 1990, Pignatti et al. 2001). The altitudinal range is 0–300 m asl (Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle/European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity and Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest 2006).

Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: B. macrocarpa is a wild relative of and potential gene donor to a number of crops in the brassica group; including broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, swede, turnip and oilseed rape. This species is of great interest for breeding purposes, as it confers an increase in antioxidant compounds in brassica crops. Furthermore, from an agronomical point of view, the dry leaves can be used as an effective biological control of root-knot nematodes in a number of vegetable crops.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats are grazing (which is causing a reduction in the number of new recruitments to the population each year), reforestation, construction of holiday resorts and associated improvements to the road infrastructure. Trampling due to improved access to the sites was also reported by Pignatti et al. (2001) and the Commission of the European Communities (2009). Reforestation activities undertaken 20 years ago have also impacted negatively on the habitat of this species. Fire is a further threat reported by the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle/European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity and Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest (2006).


Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: B. macrocarpa is listed as a priority species in Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive and in Annex I of the Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats (Bern Convention). The genus Brassica is listed in Annex I of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

It has been assessed as Critically Endangered at national level (Pignatti et al. 2001) and was reported by the Commission of the European Communities (2009) to have poor prospects (the species is likely to struggle unless conditions change).

It occurs in three Natura 2000 sites: Isola di Marettimo, Isola di Favignana and Arcipelago delle Egadi – area marina e terrestre (European Environment Agency 2010). Genetic analysis using SSRs from both populations is being carried out to plan for the establishment of a genetic reserve.

EURISCO reports eight germplasm accessions of B. macrocarpa held in European genebanks (EURISCO Catalogue 2010). A full review of the ex situ conservation status of this species is required and germplasm collection and duplicated ex situ storage should be carried out as necessary.

Citation: Branca, F. & Tribulato, A. 2013. Brassica macrocarpa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 27 November 2014.
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