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Asparagus arborescens

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA LILIOPSIDA LILIALES ASPARAGACEAE

Scientific Name: Asparagus arborescens
Species Authority: Willd. ex Schult. & Schult.f.
Common Name(s):
Spanish Esparragera
Synonym(s):
Asparagus equisetifolius Webb
Asparagus retrofractus Webb & Berthel.
Taxonomic Notes: Asparagus arborescens Schult. & Schult. f. is a wild relative of asparagus, A. officinalis L.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(ii,iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-04-14
Assessor(s): Santos Guerra, A.
Reviewer(s): Kell, S.P. & Nieto, A.
Contributor(s): Kell, S.P. & Hargreaves , S.
Justification:
Asparagus arborescens is assessed as Vulnerable because the area of occupancy (AOO) is less than 2,000 km², the population is severely fragmented and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of habitat which is resulting in a decline in the area of occupancy and number of subpopulations.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: A. arborescens is endemic to the Canary Islands. It occurs on all of the seven largest islands within the archipelago: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro (Acebes Ginovés et al. 2004). The area of occupancy (AOO) is less than 2,000 km².
Countries:
Native:
Spain (Canary Is.)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Nogales et al. (2007) report that this species exists in sparse and locally distributed populations in the north of Lanzarote. It is also rare in Fuerteventura, Hierro and La Palma.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in lowland dry areas, often on rocky slopes in Euphorbia communities. For example, in Tenerife it can be found in the dry habitats of the south and west up to 100 m and in La Gomera in the dry rocky slopes above Puerto Vallehermoso (Bramwell and Bramwell 2001).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: A. arborescens is a wild relative of and potential gene donor to asparagus, A. officinalis.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Populations outside protected areas are under threat from development for tourism and the construction of new roads. Overgrazing  by goats and rabbits is an additional threat, especially in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Invasive species, such as Opuntia spp., Agave spp. and expanding populations of Pennisetum setaceum also threaten this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The genus Asparagus is listed in Annex I of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Some populations occur within existing protected areas; however, these populations are not monitored or managed and the problem of invasive species and overgrazing also occurs at these sites. There is a need for population genetic and reproductive biology studies.

No germplasm accessions of A. arborescens are reported by EURISCO to be held in European genebanks (EURISCO Catalogue 2010). A 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. It is thought that material might be stored in the seed bank of the Jardin Botánico Viera y Clavijo and grown in the living collection.

Citation: Santos Guerra, A. 2013. Asparagus arborescens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 September 2014.
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