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Mentha cervina

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA LAMIALES LABIATAE

Scientific Name: Mentha cervina
Species Authority: L.
Common Name(s):
French Menthe des Cerfs
Spanish Mentha de Burro, Poleo de Ciervo
Synonym(s):
Preslia cervina (L.) Frescen.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2007-09-24
Assessor(s): Rhazi, L. & Grillas, P.
Reviewer(s): Grillas, P., Ali, M.M., de Bélair, G., Alves, P., Temple, H. (IUCN Species Programme) & Muller, S.D.
Justification:
Mentha cervina has a restricted area of occupancy (approximately 600 km2), but extent of occurrence is large and it occurs at more than 10 locations. It is suffering severe and rapid declines throughout its range, and has disappeared from some sites and even countries (e.g. Italy) where it previously occurred. It is therefore assessed as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Mentha cervina has a western steno-Mediterranean distribution. It is found in France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Algeria and is presumed extinct in Italy.
In the Mediterranean region, the extent of occurrence is about 800,000 km² with an estimated area of occupancy of 600 km².

In France, it is known in six departments and is considered as vulnerable.
- Pyrenees Orientales: pool of Saint-Estève, Montalba, Saint-Nazaire, Collioure.
- Aude: pech d'Agnel (near Narbonne), near Armissan.
- Hérault: Castries, Gigean (Gardiole), Saint-Gely-du-Fesc, the Boissière, Saint-Paul-et-Valmalle, Cazevieille, Cournonterral, Portiragnes (Roquehaute), the Triadou, Puechabon, Assignan.
- Gard: pond of Pujaut, vicinity of Nîmes.
- Vaucluse: sides of the Rhone (vicinity of Avignon).
- Bouches-du-Rhône: Crau (pond of Entressen, of the Alders), Arles, Tarascon.
Countries:
Native:
Algeria; France (France (mainland)); Morocco; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Spain (Spain (mainland))
Possibly extinct:
Italy (Italy (mainland))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The populations are globally in decline and those that are more stable are generally very vulnerable because they are situated in fragile biotopes. The localities once known in Italy (Abruzzi) are presumed extinct.

In France, they seem in regression, except in the Hérault and Gard (important populations). It disappeared from numerous sites of Crau (Bouches-du-Rhône), from the sandy banks of the Rhône, from the pool of Saint-Estève and from the coastal Catalan in Pyrenees-Orientales. It is likely extinct in the Costière Nîmoise in Gard.

In Spain and Portugal, it is known in the western half of the Iberian Peninsula with some additional localities in the east. It is not very common in Iberia and the populations are possibly declining because of the destruction of their habitat. Healthy populations are found on some of the larger rivers but it is absent from other rivers.

In North Africa, it is considered very rare in Morocco with only one locality known in the Rif (Tanger) and very rare in Algeria where it is found in the Haut Plateaux of the Regions of Algiers and Oran (region of former Géryville). In the countries of the Maghreb, the species is often harvested and marketed on a local scale for medicinal use.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in wetlands and temporarily flooded habitats (pools, rivers, meadows). It is a perennial species (Hemicryptophyte) that blooms in spring and summer. Mentha cervina is an heliophilous species, sensitive to the shade and to the modification of water regimes.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is often harvested and marketed on a local scale for medicinal use.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat is the destruction of the habitat by anthropogenic activities such as changes of the hydrology by either drainage or permanent flooding, agriculture, filling-in, and dams. The largest remaining populations in Portugal are under imminent threat from the construction of dams.
Other threats are bound to changes in habitat management (in France) such as the abandonment of grazing resulting in an invasion of the sites by woody competitors.
The small number of populations, their reciprocal remoteness and their reduced strengths essentially expose them to risks of extinction in France and in the Maghreb countries.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In France, the species is protected at national and regional level (Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur) and is found in the Natural Reserve of Roque-Haute. It is classed as Vulnerable in the Red Data Book (Olivier et al. 1995).

In North Africa, there are no conservation measures in place but the following actions are recommended:
- Legal protection of the species (list of protected species in Morocco and in Algeria) and enforcement of the legal protection measures
- Surveillance of the existing sites and search for new sites
- To estimate the population size and to monitor the population dynamics
- To maintain a favourable hydrological regime and an open vegetation by mowing or grazing 
- To know the supportable harvest limit of the plant (sustainable use)
- Raising public awareness

Citation: Rhazi, L. & Grillas, P. 2010. Mentha cervina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 September 2014.
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