Serapias stenopetala


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Serapias stenopetala
Species Authority: Maire & Stephenson
Common Name(s):
French Sérapias à Pétales Étroits
Serapias lingua subspecies stenopetala (Maire & Stephenson) Maire & Weiller

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i)b ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-12
Assessor(s): de Bélair, G.
Reviewer(s): Hugot, L., Bagella, S., Muller, S.D. & Temple, H. (IUCN Species Programme)
Serapias stenopetala is assessed as Critically Endangered because it has a very small population (<250 individuals), with fewer than 50 mature individuals in each subpopulation along with continuing declines and extreme fluctuations.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Serapias stenopetala is a species endemic to Algeria and Tunisia (de Bélair and Boussouak 2002; Delforge 2001, 2005). Maire (1952-1987) considers this to be a subspecies. It has been observed in El Kala, at Guelma (l'Aouara) and between Annaba and Lake Fetzara. At the latter site it has not been seen again. Quézel and Santa (1963) don't recognize this sighting. Four localities were found near the lakes Mellah and Oubeïra. In Tunisia, its presence in Kroumirie has been confirmed. Its extent of occurrence is below 5,000 km² and its area of occupation is very small and below 500 km².
Algeria; Tunisia
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Serapias stenopetala is extremely scarce and each known population numbers only a few individuals. The known locations are very scattered and the number of individuals at each location may vary from two to three up to 25 to 30 (in favourable years even sixty) individuals. Two additional sites have recently been discovered in Tunisia. The total population is estimated to be below 250 mature individuals.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Serapias stenopetala is a perennial orchid that blooms from late April to May. In the Mediterranean bioclimate with temperate to mild winters, this species forms small populations with scattered individuals at the shores of lake Mellah, the wadi El Aroug and ditches close to the lake Oubeïra. It usually grows on wet peat. It is widely distributed in the middle of grass associations of Juncus maritimus.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The major threats are the destruction of roadside ditches, trampling and grazing by cattle and the creation of an Animal Park (Brabtia) resulting in the destruction of its habitats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

All orchids are included under Annex B of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

No other conservation measures are in place.
There are only a few endemic species of the sub-littoral plains in Numidia and thus they are particularly vulnerable. A policy of protection and conservation is urgently needed.

Bibliography [top]

De Bélair, G. and Boussouak, R. 2002. Une orchidée endémique de Numidie, oubliée: Serapias stenopetala Maire & Stephenson 1930. L'Orchidophile 153: 189-196.

De Bélair, G., Véla, E. and Boussouak, R. 2005. Inventaire des Orchidées de Numidie (N-E Algérie) sur vingt années. Journal of European Orchids 37(2): 291-401.

Delforge, P. 2001. Guide des Orchidées d'Europe, d'Afrique du Nord et du Proche-Orient. Delachaux & Niestlé, Lausanne, Paris.

Delforge, P. 2005. Guide des Orchidées d'Europe, d'Afrique du Nord et du Proche-Orient. Delachaux & Niestlé, Lausanne, Paris.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at: (Accessed: 29 June 2010).

Maire, R. 1952-1987. Flore de l'Afrique du Nord (Maroc, Algérie, Tunisie, Tripolitaine, Cyrénaïque et Sahara). Lechevalier, Paris.

Maire, R. and Stephenson, T.S. 1930. Sur quelques plantes nouvelles ou peu connues de l'Algérie orientale. Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Naturelle de l'Afrique du Nord 4: 48-50.

Quézel, P. and Santa, S. 1962-1963. Nouvelle Flore de l'Algérie et des Régions Désertiques Méridionales. CNRS, Paris.

Quézel, P. and Santa, S. 1962. Nouvelle flore de l'Algérie et des régions désertiques méridionales. CNRS, Paris.

Valdés, B., Rejdali, M., Achhal El Kadmiri, A., Jury, J.L. and Montserrat, J.M. (eds). 2002. Checklist of Vascular Plants of North Morocco with Identification Keys. Biblioteca de Ciencias, Madrid.

Citation: de Bélair, G. 2010. Serapias stenopetala. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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