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Galanthus peshmenii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA LILIOPSIDA LILIALES AMARYLLIDACEAE

Scientific Name: Galanthus peshmenii
Species Authority: A.P.Davis & C.D.Brickell
Taxonomic Notes:

Galanthus peshmenii is a recently described species (Davis and Brickell 1994), named in honour of the late Dr. H. Peşmen. It has a very restricted distribution in the wild and is known from only a small area in Antalya province of southern Turkey and on the nearby Greek island of Kastellorhizo (Megisti). According to data from herbarium specimens, this species was first collected in 1973, on Kastellorhizo, by the Greek botanist Stamatiadou. This was followed by a collection made on the Turkish mainland in 1978, by Peşmen, Yildiz and Günes. Originally, collections from Kastellorhizo were believed to represent G. cilicicus and collections made on the Turkish mainland have also been placed under G. reginae-olgae.

In flowering time and growth habit G. peshmenii closely matches G. reginae-olgae, a species from Greece, Sicily and the southern part of the former Yugoslavia. These two species are, however, easily distinguished from one another by the colour and dimensions of the leaves, and the shape of the inner perianth mark. Galanthus reginae-olgae has a glaucous median stripe on the adaxial surface of the leaves on a background of green; G. peshmenii possesses leaves that are glaucescent (green with glaucous undertones) to glaucous, with or without a slight underlying median stripe. The leaves of G. peshmenii are usually narrower and longer than those of G. reginae-olgae, and have a distinctly flaccid appearance when fully developed. The inner perianth mark of G. reginae-olgae is very similar to that of G. nivalis and is usually represented by a bold U- to V-shaped mark; and on the inside of the inner perianth segment the green mark runs from the apex to the base of the segment. The markings on the inner segments of G. peshmenii are quite different. The outer mark is narrow and shaped like a U, and on the inside of the segment the mark is small and covers only approximately half the length of the segment. In terms of flower markings, leaf characteristics (including vernation) and flowering time, G. peshmenii is very much like G. cilicicus, but differs from this species in its leafless, or near-leafless, flowering habit and long, narrow leaves.

Molecular data from analyses of chloroplast and ribosomal DNA (Larsen et al. 2010) shows that G. peshmenii is closely related to G. elwesii. This result is logical in a geographical context, as both G. peshmenii and G. elwesii occur in the Mediterranean coastal area of southern Turkey.

Galanthus peshmenii is an autumn flowering plant which produces its flowering scapes before the leaves emerge from the surface of the soil. Occasionally, the leaves are present at flowering time but even in these instances they are very short and not fully developed.

The leaf anatomy of G. peshmenii is quite unique for Galanthus because it possesses a well-defined palisade layer, a feature which is clearly seen when the leaf is observed in transverse section. This feature, usually an adaptation to high light levels, is also present in many other members of the Amaryllidaceae, including those genera mentioned above. Galanthus reginae-olgae also has a palisade layer, but it is not as well developed as that of G. peshmenii (Davis and Brickell 1994, Davis 1999, Larsen et al. 2010).          

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-01-26
Assessor(s): Davis, A.
Reviewer(s): Wilkin, P. & Bilz, M.
Contributor(s): Gage, E. & Moat, J.
Justification:
Galanthus peshmenii is endemic to the Greek island of Kastellorhizo (Megisti) in the Southeast Aegean and a limited area of southwestern Turkey in close proximity to the Mediterranean coast. Its extent of occurrence is 2,196 km² and it occurs at nine localities The habitat is likely to be declining slowly but continuously due to a compounded influence of many factors. It is also deemed to be climate change sensitive. Grazing is a potential threat although it is often restricted to areas where it cannot be grazed by goats and other livestock. This plant is sometimes collected by specialist growers of snowdrop and rare, but this is thought to have limited impact at present. It is assessed as Vulnerable, but should collector pressure increase uplisting to Endangered may be warranted.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This snowdrop is endemic to the Greek island of Kastellorhizo (Megisti) in the southeast Aegean and adjacently to a limited area of southwestern Turkey in close proximity to the Mediterranean coast (Davis 1999). It is found at nine localities and has an extent of occurrence of 2,196 km².
Countries:
Native:
Greece (East Aegean Is.); Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is a localized species and there is some evidence of population decline.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A low altitude species, occurring from 5 to 300 m, that occurs in maquis, typically, in or at the base of north-facing, rocky, limestone bluffs. On the Island of Kastellorhizo it is almost exclusively found in hollows and crevices in limestone rocks, in places where plants cannot be grazed by goats.

The morphological and anatomical features of G. peshmenii are put into clear context when populations of this species are examined in situ. On the island of Kastellorhizo, a typical hot, dry Aegean island, G. peshmenii grows almost exclusively as a chasmophyte on low-altitude, north-facing cliffs and rock outcrops. It is also found very close to the sea, just 10 m from the sea-shore, and as little as 5 m above sea-level. Pockets of soil in rock fissures, hollows, and holes provide a micro-habitat for its existence, and afford protection from the extremes of temperature and climate. Galanthus peshmenii is often found at a height or position that is out of reach of grazing animals, especially goats. Indeed, it is possible that the reason this species is found so frequently growing on rocks is because they have been eaten out of existence elsewhere on the island

On the Turkish mainland G. peshmenii is not found in such extreme habitats as those of Kastellorhizo, but even here the location of populations is still rather atypical for the genus. In Antalya province the species grows in low altitude Pinus forest, in rocky places, in maquis, and in scrubby areas below cliffs.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is a possible reduction in numbers due to collection by private collectors (from outside Turkey) but no official trade has been reported. This species is difficult in cultivation and therefore of less value than other Galanthus species (e.g. G. nivalis, G. elwesii), although it is sometimes collected for its rarity value. Limited and difficult to access (growing deep within limestone fissures) populations make this species difficult to harvest.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A possible reduction in numbers can be caused by private collectors (from outside Turkey). G. peshmenii is climate-change sensitive: this species is very specific with respect to its habitat (cool, humid niches within Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation). This species has limited potential for dispersal (dispersed by ants) and would be affected by sea-level rise. Degradation in some areas due to changes in land-use affect this plant.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: All Galanthus spp. are included under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Citation: Davis, A. 2013. Galanthus peshmenii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 December 2014.
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