|Scientific Name:||Atriplex lanfrancoi (Brullo & Pavone) G.Kadereit & Sukhor.|
Cremnophyton lanfrancoi Brullo & Pavone
|Taxonomic Source(s):||Kadereit, G., Mavrodiev, E.V., Zacharias, E.H. and Sukhorukov, A.P. 2010. Molecular phylogeny of Atripliceae (Chenopodioideae, Chenopodiaceae): Implications for systematics, biogeography, flower and fruit evolution, and the origin of C4 photosynthesis. American Journal of Botany 97(10): 1664-87: 10.3732/ajb.1000169.|
|Taxonomic Notes:||This species was moved from genus Cremnophyton to Atriplex following The Plant List (2016).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Lanfranco, E. & Stevens, D.T.|
|Reviewer(s):||Strahm, W. & de Montmollin, B.|
This species grows over a very small area (covering less than 100 km²), the remaining population is severely fragmented, and the area where it grows, quality of its habitat, and number of individuals is predicted to decline unless increased conservation measures are taken. The total wild population is estimated at several thousands, but has not been counted. Some subpopulations have probably disappeared, such as those along the cliffs of the San Pawl il-Bahar-Mistra area on north-eastern Malta.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
|Range Description:||This species is restricted to the islands of Malta and Gozo (including Fungus Rock). It is rarer than Cheirolophus crassifolius (another listed species) and has a similar, but patchier distribution.|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The total wild population is estimated at several thousands, but has not been counted. Some subpopulations have probably disappeared, such as those along the cliffs of the San Pawl il-Bahar-Mistra area on north-eastern Malta.|
|Current Population Trend:||Decreasing|
|Habitat and Ecology:||This woody shrub grows on sheer seaside cliffs along the northwestern and southern cliffs of the islands of Malta and Gozo, including Fungus Rock. |
This species has several traits considered ancient in an evolutionary sense, such as an unusual chromosome number (10), and an ecological preference for rock crevice habitats. Like other Maltese endemics, it probably represents a relict element of the old Tertiary flora. Cremnophyton lanfrancoi was described in 1987 and was the only species in that genus, but has since been transferred to Atriplex. It had long been confused with Halimione portulacoides, a plant of saline marshlands and dunes (not cliffs) also found on Malta.
Very low regeneration has been observed, probably due to an insect (Eurytoma sp.) that feeds on the seeds. All wild plants tested were infected by an as yet unidentified fungus that apparently limits reproductive capacity (note that laboratory plants free of the fungus are easy to propagate by cuttings). In its natural habitat, the species is also gradually being replaced by invasive alien plants, particularly Agave americana, Carpobrotus edulis and Opuntia ficus-indica.
Cliff habitats are endangered or have already collapsed due to pressure waves from the explosions of nearby limestone quarrying. Dust pollution from quarrying seems to be a minor problem. A number of subpopulations are directly threatened by dumping of tar and wastes, a crime difficult to control.
Actions in Place
Legally: Internationally, this species is listed (as Cremnophyton lanfrnacoi) in Appendix I of the Bern Convention and since Malta’s EU adhesion in May 2004 in Annex II and IV of the Habitats Directive. On the national level, it is protected by the Flora and Fauna Protection Regulations of 1993 and the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations of 2003.
All cliffs of the island of Malta and several of Gozo are locally protected, either as Sites of Scientific Importance, Areas of Ecological Importance or Special Areas of Conservation. Fungus Rock ((il-Gebla tal-General), which is located slightly off-shore of the western cliffs of Gozo, is also a Strict Nature Reserve. Access is forbidden, valid scientific reasons excepted.
In situ: Management plans are being drafted for a number of sites, including the Qawra-Dwejra Special Area of Conservation (western Gozo).
Ex situ: This species has been propagated by laboratory methods with great success and is available to nurseries and gardeners.
It is particularly important to protect more cliffs on Gozo because of their ecological importance. The most efficient conservation action needed is habitat protection and management. Law enforcement should be strengthened, especially, over illegal dumping, collection of wild specimens and the introduction of alien species on the easily accessible plateau. More research is needed to identify the factors responsible for this species' population decline and habitat fragmentation.
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Brullo, S. and Marcenó, C. 1979. Dianthon rupicolae, nouvelle alliance Sud-Tyrrhénienne des Asplenietalia glandulosi. Documents Phytosociologiques 4: 1-17.
Brullo, S. and Pavone, P. 1987. Cremnophyton lanfrancoi: a new genus and species of Chenopodiaceae from Malta. Candollea 42: 621-625.
Duthie, J.F. 1874. On the Botany of the Maltese Islands in 1874: Part One. The Journal of Botany British and Foreign 1874: 321-326.
Duthie, J.F. 1875. On the Botany of the Maltese Islands in 1874: Part Two. The Journal of Botany British and Foreign 1875: 36-42.
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Lanfranco, E. 1987. Jewels of the Maltese Flora: Plants endemic to the Maltese Islands. Spectra 5: 2-11.
Lanfranco, E. 1989a. II-Pjanti Vaskulari Endemici tal-Gzejjer Maltin. In: T. Cortis (ed.), L-Identitá Kulturali ta' Malta. Dipartiment ta' I-Informazzjoni, Malta. [In Maltese].
Lanfranco, E. 1989b. The Flora. In: P.J. Schembri and J. Sultana (eds), Red Data Book for the Maltese Islands, pp. 5-70. Department of Information, Malta.
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Lanfranco, E. 1995. The Maltese Flora and Conservation. Ecologia Mediterranea 21(1/2): 165-168.
Lanfranco, E. 1996a. Part 2: Plants. In: J. Sultana and V. Falzon (eds), Wildlife of the Maltese Islands, pp. 28-85. Environment Protection Department, Malta.
Lanfranco, E. 1996b. The Flora and Vegetation of Gozo. In: J. Farrugia and L. Briguglio (eds), A Focus on Gozo, pp. 27-40. University of Malta, Malta.
Lanfranco, E. and Stevens, D.T. 1998. Family Chenopodiaceae: Cremnophyton lanfrancoi Brullo et Pavone. Taxon Sheet presented to the IUCN Mediterranean Island Plant Specialist Group Top 30 Programme.
Montmollin, B. de and Strahm, W. (eds). 2005. The Top 50 Mediterranean Island Plants: Wild plants at the brink of extinction, and what is needed to save them. IUCN SSC Mediterranean Islands Plant Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Sommier, S. and Caruana Gatto, A. 1915. Flora Melitensis Nova. Studio Pellas, Firenze, Italy. viii + 502 pp.
Stevens, D.T. 1996. Discovering the Maltese Endemic Plants Part V: The Maltese Cliff-Orache. II-Balluta 34: 5.
Stevens, D.T. 1999a. Amendments to Appendix I of the Convention. Proposal by Malta. Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention). Document T-PVS (99)32. 14 pp.
Stevens, D.T. 1999. Legislation concerning the Protection and Conservation of Maltese Flora. In: R. Vujicic, E. Lanfranco and A. Vella (eds.), SOS for Maltese Flora, pp. pp. 57–74. Department of Biology of the University of Malta, Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries & the Environment Protection Department, Malta.
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Tutin, T.G., Burges, N.A., Chater, A.O., Edmondson, J.R., Heywood, V.H., Moore, D.M., Valentine, D.H., Walters, S.M. and Webb, D.A. 1993. Flora Europaea, Volume 1, Psilotaceae to Platanaceae. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, xIvi, Cambridge.
Walter, K.S. and Gillett, H.J. (eds). 1998. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. IUCN – The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Zammit, G. 1997. Micropropagation of Cremnophyton lanfrancoi - a shrub endemic to the Maltese Islands. Bachelor of Science dissertation. Department of Biology, University of Malta.
|Citation:||Lanfranco, E. & Stevens, D.T. 2016. Atriplex lanfrancoi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T61645A103727282.Downloaded on 26 September 2017.|
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