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Calendula maritima

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA ASTERALES COMPOSITAE

Scientific Name: Calendula maritima
Species Authority: Guss.
Common Name(s):
English Sea Marigold

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): Troìa, A. & Pasta, S.
Reviewer(s): Strahm, W. & de Montmollin, B. (Mediterranean Island Plants Red List Authority)
Justification:
This plant grows in an area of less than 10 km², the population is severely fragmented, and its remaining habitat is being reduced.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to Sicily and some surrounding islets, on the mainland Calendula maritima is only found in the Trapani region in a few coastal sites between Marsala and Mt. Cofano. Elsewhere small subpopulations also occur on two or three islets near the Sicilian coast: Isola Grande dello Stagnone, La Formica, and Favignana (although a recent survey noted that it seems to have disappeared from this site).
Countries:
Native:
Italy (Sicilia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Unknown.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The herbaceous species colonizes open nitrogen-rich areas near the sea, and typically grows on decaying remnants of sea grass (Posidonia oceanica) washed ashore.

This plant is a perennial, but most individuals (possibly due to drought stress) have an annual life cycle. Like annual plants from colder climatic zones, these individuals die back after flowering and setting seed. The seeds then germinate around October. The hot and dry summer marks the end of this species flowering period rather than a cold winter. Other species from the genus Calendula are often grown as garden plants. This species has the potential to be developed for horticulture if the optimal culture conditions can be found.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): On the main island of Sicily, its natural habitat is under increasing pressure from urban development. The subpopulation growing in the well-managed nature reserve "Saline di Trapani e Paceco" is threatened by plans to expand the nearby harbour. The loss of this subpopulation would not only diminish the species' gene pool; it would also represent a great loss to science as this locality is where this species was described (its locus classicus).

In addition, the species is very attractive and may be collected for its beautiful flowers. It is also threatened by competition with an alien invasive species, the iceplant or hottentot fig (Carpobrotus edulis), which grows in part of C. maritima’s habitat and competes aggressively with it.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Actions in Place
Legally: No measures have been taken to protect the species itself.

In situ: Part of the area where this species occurs is situated in the Nature Reserves "Saline di Trapani e Paceco" and "Isole dello Stagnone di Marsala". Here, it is forbidden to collect seeds or any vegetative parts of the plant. These areas are effectively managed (by WWF and the Province of Trapani, respectively), guarded by rangers, and have been subject to scientific monitoring. Construction of roads or houses inside the reserves requires permission. These species-rich reserves are sustainably managed and economic activities such as salt extraction take place within them.

Ex situ: This species is included in the GENMEDOC project (an inter-regional network of Mediterranean seedbanks), and seeds are being collected in order to propagate this species. It should not be difficult to germinate seeds in cultivation, but may be more difficult to meet the peculiar habitat requirements (nitrogen-rich, sandy and salty soil) of this species.

Actions Needed
This species should be added to Appendix I of the Bern Convention and Annexes II and IV of the EC Habitats Directive to give it protection by international law. A campaign to eradicate the invasive species Carpobrotus edulis in the region needs to be initiated. C. maritima's classical site needs to be protected by finding alternatives to the planned harbour expansion, limiting access to the site, and careful planning of any construction of new roads and buildings. Inventories need to be made over several years to monitor population trends.

Citation: Troìa, A. & Pasta, S. 2006. Calendula maritima. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 August 2014.
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