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Galanthus ikariae

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA LILIOPSIDA LILIALES AMARYLLIDACEAE

Scientific Name: Galanthus ikariae
Species Authority: Baker
Taxonomic Notes:

Galanthus ikariae is frequently confused with other green-leafed snowdrops, and particularly G. woronowii, which are often considered as constituting one species. While it is true that these species can often appear to be very alike, there should be no real reason for confusion. The inner perianth mark of G. ikariae is very large and bold, as stated above, and even when the mark is a similar shape to that of G. woronowii (see below) it still usually covers a larger area of the segment. Galanthus ikariae also has leaves that are dark matt-green, and not bright green like those of G. woronowii. A further means of telling these species apart is by looking at transverse sections of the leaves, as the leaf anatomy of each species is quite different. When a leaf of G. ikariae is sectioned and examined under a microscope, large air-spaces are evident and the mesophyll cells (the cells making up the bulk of the leaf tissue) are loosely arranged with large spaces between them. The air-spaces can be clearly seen with either the naked eye or a x10 hand lens, when the leaf is cut in half with a knife or pair of scissors. The leaves of G. woronowii, and all other broad-, green-leafed snowdrops, do not display this feature, but instead the leaf-blade has very small air-spaces which are either invisible or barely discernible to the naked eye. As a rule-of-thumb test, it is possible to fit a dress-maker’s pin into the air-spaces of G. ikariae, with little or no difficulty. Molecular studies (Lledo et al. 2004) demonstrate that G. ikariae and G. woronowii are separate species.

Since its discovery on the island of Ikaria, G. ikariae has been collected from at least three other Aegean islands, including Andros, Naxos, and Skyros; further collections have also been made on Ikaria.
(Davis 1999, 2001; Lledo et al. 2004)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-02-08
Assessor(s): Davis, A.
Reviewer(s): Trias Blasi, A., de Montmollin, B. & Bilz, M.
Contributor(s): Moat, J. & Gage, E.
Justification:
Galanthus ikariae is endemic to the Greek Aegean Islands of Andros, Ikaria, Naxos and Skyros. The extent of occurrence is quite large (10,768 km²) but much of this area includes the Aegean Sea. Populations are fragmented and usually small (e.g. less than 1 km²), and often confined to cooler and wetter niches within considerably drier and sunnier macro-habitats. For those populations occurring near streams, abstraction or shifts in rainfall patterns (including climate change) would significantly influence population health and survival of individuals. Correspondingly, G. ikariae is assessed as Vulnerable. Further research on population size may necessitate a reassessment to a higher threat category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This plant is endemic to the Greek Aegean Islands of Andros, Ikaria, Naxos and Skyros. It has an extent of occurrence of 10,768 km², an area of occupancy of 2,408 km² and is found at five locations.
Countries:
Native:
Greece (East Aegean Is.)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The populations of G. ikariae are often small (e.g. sometimes much less than 1 km²), and are mainly confined to suitable cooler and wetter niches, within considerably drier and sunnier macro-habitats. Further work is required to map populations size and density.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: In the wild, G. ikariae is mainly confined to wet, shady places at altitudes above 600 m, where it escapes the severity of the hot, dry Aegean summer. Populations of G. ikariae are commonly found in close proximity to a water-source, usually in deep shade on sloping ground. Small river gorges with rather luxuriant vegetation, including deciduous trees, are a frequent habitat. In these locations Galanthus ikariae is often found growing through Ivy (Hedera sp.) or with Cyclamen hederifolium. Sometimes G. ikariae is found on flat, wet areas in deep soil at the bottom of gorges, where it attains a much larger size. Plants growing in such situations in Andros, have leaves of up to 3 cm wide and 50 cm long. Galanthus ikariae is not totally confined to river gorges and it also grows at the edge of scrub and woodland. On Skyros, for example, G. ikariae can be found in the shade of macchie, with the Cretan maple (Acer sempervirens). It is also found in the shade of large boulders, between rocks, and at the base of rocky outcrops. In all habitats, G. ikariae is most frequently recorded on soils overlying either limestone or metamorphic rocks, such as schist.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Galanthus ikariae is sometimes grown in specialist bulb and snowdrop collections, and can be obtained from specialist plant nurseries in the UK and other European countries (thereby reducing the need to collect from the wild).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): For those populations occurring near streams, abstraction or shifts in rainfall patterns (climate change) would significantly influence population health and survival of individuals. There is a possibility of small-scale, illegal collection for the bulb trade, although the presence of this species in cultivation reduces the need for exploitation from the wild.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: All Galanthus spp. are included under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Citation: Davis, A. 2013. Galanthus ikariae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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