Agropyron cimmericum


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Agropyron cimmericum
Species Authority: Nevski
Common Name/s:
English Kerch Wheatgrass
Agropyron dasyanthum subspecies birjuczense (Lavrenko) Lavrenko
Taxonomic Notes: Agropyron cimmericum Nevski is a tertiary wild relative of bread wheat, Triticum aestivum L. ssp. aestivum, durum wheat, T. turgidum ssp. durum (Desf.) Husn., and a number of other cultivated wheats; including emmer wheat, T. turgidum ssp. dicoccon (Schrank) Thell., einkorn wheat, T. monococcum L. ssp. monococcum, spelt, T. aestivum ssp. spelta (L.) Thell., and sanduri wheat, T. timopheevii (Zhuk.) Zhuk. ssp. timopheevii. It is also a wild relative of crested wheatgrasses, A. cristatum, A. desertorum and A. fragile, which are cultivated for forage, fodder, erosion control and revegetation.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-04-14
Assessor/s: Smekalova, T., Maslovky, O. & Melnyk, V.
Reviewer/s: Bilz, M., Kell, S.P. & Nieto, A.

European regional assessment: Endangered (EN)
EU 27 regional assessment: Not Evaluated (NE)

Agropyron cimmericum is endemic to a small area in Crimea and the northern coast of the Asov Sea where it is confined to sand dunes and beaches. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is less than 5,000 km2 and the area of occupancy (AOO) is less than 500 km2. There are only around 10 subpopulations with less than 250 individuals in each. These subpopulations are severely fragmented and the number of mature individuals is suspected to be decreasing. The area and quality of the species' habitat are in decline due to tourism development and urbanization. It is therefore assessed as Endangered.

It does not occur within the EU 27.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: A. cimmericum is endemic to Ukraine (Valdés and Scholz; with contributions from Raab-Straube and Parolly 2009) where it is found along the Asov Sea coast in the northern part of the Kerchinski Peninsula of Crimea, and at the Arbatski Spit. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is less than 5,000 km2 and the area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be less than 500 km2. There are only two sites in the Kerchinski Peninsula, near the villages Chegene and Kasantip (Fedorov 1974, Prokudin et al. 1977).
Ukraine (Krym, Ukraine (main part))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are around ten subpopulations which are suspected to be slowly decreasing as the area is under high pressure from tourism development. The number of mature individuals is suspected to be less than 2,500, with less than 250 individuals in each subpopulation.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This perennial rhizomatous grass grows in sand dunes and on beaches in very sandy soils. At some sites it grows together with Festuca beckeri and Stipa borystenica (Prokudin et al. 1977).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The sites where the species is found are under high pressure from the tourist industry and infrastructure development is taking place. An associated threat is urbanization.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The genus Agropyron is listed in Annex I of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as part of the wheat gene pool.

It occurs in Kazantip reserve and in zakaznik Arabatska strelka. However, monitoring and active management are needed at these sites.

No germplasm accessions of A. cimmericum are report by EURISCO to be held in European genebanks (EURISCO Catalogue 2010) and the species is not reported by SINGER. Germplasm collection and duplicated ex situ storage is a priority for this species.
Citation: Smekalova, T., Maslovky, O. & Melnyk, V. 2011. Agropyron cimmericum. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 24 April 2014.
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