Ephedra somalensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA GNETOPSIDA EPHEDRALES EPHEDRACEAE

Scientific Name: Ephedra somalensis
Species Authority: Freitag & Maier-St.
Taxonomic Notes: In growth form, pith colour, structure of the pollen cones, shape of the pollen, and ecology, E. somalensis fits well with other species of subgroup Leptocladae sensu Freitag and Maier-Solte (1994).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-20
Assessor(s): Bell, A. & Bachman, S.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Lutz, M.L.
Justification:
The range of this species is fairly restricted, but there are no major threats at present. The extent of protected areas in the region is poor and no collections of this species are known from protected areas. Recent collections have been made (Thulin 109245a, 109245b, 10944) suggesting the species is still extant. The effects of grazing should be investigated to determine whether this is causing long term damage to the population, but at present E. somalensis is rated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Endemic to the northern escarpment of Somalia and the high mountains of Eritrea. Based on the presence of similar habitat, E. somalensis is also likely to occur on the eastern escarpment of the Ethiopian Plateau and the mountains of Djibouti although no records are known at present (Freitag and Maier-Stolte 2003). Has been recorded from 1,200 m up to 2,700 m.
Countries:
Native:
Eritrea; Somalia
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Abundant in the Juniper belt (Freitag and Maier-Stolte 2003).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A shrub, to 1.5 m tall. Found in xerophytic evergreen afromontane forests and bushlands on soils derived from gnieiss, schist and limestone. Associated with Buxus hildebrandtii, Dracaena ombet, Monetheca buxifolia, Euryops arabicus, Teucrium polium, Olea, Juniperus procera, Tarchonanthus, Cadia, Pistacia aethiopica and Dodonaea viscosa. Flowers in March. Freitag and Maier-Stolte (2003).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The stems of most members of this genus contain the alkaloid ephedrine and are valuable in the treatment of asthma and many other complaints of the respiratory system (Plants for a Future 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Noted as being grazed by goats, although this is not considered a major threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known collections in botanic gardens and no samples collected for ex situ storage in seed banks. The protected area network is patchy in this region, and the known records of this species do not fall within any protected reserve. Ex situ collections are recommended and further investigation of the threat from grazing is needed.

Bibliography [top]

Freitag, H. and Maier-Stolte, M. 1994. Ephedraceae. In: K. Browicz (ed.) (ed.), Chronology of Trees and Shrubs in South-West Asia and Adjacent Regions, pp. 5-16 & 39-52. Bogucki Publishers, Poznan, Poland.

Freitag, H. and Maier-Stolte, M. 2003. The genus Ephedra in NE Tropical Africa. Kew Bulletin 58: 415-426.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Plants for a Future. 1996-2010. Plants For A Future, Earth, Plants, People. Available at: http://www.pfaf.org/user/plantsearch.aspx.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. 2009. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Available at: http://www.kew.org/wcsp/.


Citation: Bell, A. & Bachman, S. 2011. Ephedra somalensis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 August 2014.
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