Origanum dictamnus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Labiatae

Scientific Name: Origanum dictamnus L.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-04-13
Assessor(s): Delipetrou, P. & Bazos, I.
Reviewer(s): de Montmollin, B. & Bilz, M.
Origanum dictamnus is endemic to Crete where it has a restricted distribution with an extent of occurrence of 7,600 km² and an area of occupancy of 250 km². However, it the number of locations is large, there is no indication of population fragmentation and the habitat is often inaccessible. Overexploitation is a serious threat but there is no quantification or documentation of a reduction of population size or of the loss of locations in the past. Thus, Origanum dictamnus does not qualify for any of the threat categories, but continued overcollection of the wild populations would render the plant threatened. It is therefore assessed as Near Threatened as it is suspected to reach Criterion A.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Origanum dictamnus is native to the island of Crete, Greece. It is widespread on the island, and becomes rarer towards the east. It occurs on most mountain ranges (Lefka Ori Mts, Idi Mts, Dikti Mts, Thrypti Mts, Asterousia Mts) and mountains (e.g. Giouchtas Mt), and in several gorges (e.g. Trypiti, Prassiano, Aithiano, Kourtalioti). Confirmed post 1930 mapped records are provided by Turland (1995), Kypriotakis (1997), Bergmeier et al. (2001), Tsiourlis and Pentarakis (2001), and MAICh (2008). Based on these the extent of occurrence is 7,600 km² and the area of occupancy is 250 km².
Countries occurrence:
Greece (Kriti)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:250
Upper elevation limit (metres):1900
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Origanum dictamnus has been recorded in 60-70 locations throughout Crete. There is no objective assessment of the population size and all assessments are based on subjective observations. It was reported that overexploitation had caused dramatic reduction of population sizes and even the complete extinction of the plants in some areas (Skoula and Kamenopoulos 1996). Zaffran (1990) assessed the plant as “rare” on Crete regarding its abundance.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It grows on calcareous cliffs but also on stony and rubbly ground such as gorge beds. Found from sea level to 1,900 m asl (Commission of the European Communities 2009).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This herb is used as a condiment and has medicinal properties (Plants For A Future 2010). Skoula and Kamenopoulos (1996) reported that the production of Origanum dictamnus collected from wild populations in the period 1981 to 1991 was 1.5-3.5 tonnes/year. Although the plant was cultivated in the same period (production 25-40 tonnes/year), dried plant of wild origin had a higher price.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat for Origanum dictamnus is overexploitation of the natural populations mainly for the trade of the dried plant which has medicinal properties. Due to this threat, Turland (1995) classified the plant as vulnerable (V, old IUCN criteria). Kypriotakis (1997) however classified the taxon as rare (R, old IUCN criteria). The cultivation of Origanum dictamnus is today more organised and this might have decreased the pressure on those wild subpopulations that are difficult to access. However, Stavropoulos et al. (2006) still included Origanum dictamnus in the list of wild plants threatened by overexploitation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Origanum dictamnus is listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive and under Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). It is protected in Greece by the Presidential Decree 67/81 and included in the Red Data Book (Phitos et al. 1995). Part of the population of the plant is included in Natura 2000 sites (GR4310001, GR4310002, GR4330003, GR4330004, GR4330005, GR4340002, GR4340005, GR4340007, GR4340009, GR4340012).

Citation: Delipetrou, P. & Bazos, I. 2011. Origanum dictamnus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T162352A5578153. . Downloaded on 20 October 2017.
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