Scilla morrisii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Scilla morrisii
Species Authority: Meikle
Common Name(s):
English Morris Squill, Pallid Squill

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2ab(i,ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): Kadis, C. & Christodoulou, C.S.
Reviewer(s): Strahm, W. & de Montmollin, B. (Mediterranean Island Plants Red List Authority)
The population is severely fragmented, covering a very small area that is in decline. Today, less than 600 individuals of this species are known, covering an area of less than 2 kmĀ². The three known subpopulations are small, isolated from each other, and very sensitive to human pressure.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This plant is found only in the north-western part of Cyprus in three locations. Two of them are near the village of Panagia (Vouni and Aghia Moni monastery) and the third is near the Aghios Neophytos monastery.
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Less than 600 individuals exist in three known subpopulations.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This geophyte grows at an altitude of 250-900 m in moist, shaded crevices and banks, often under a closed canopy of old oak trees (Quercus infectoria subsp. veneris) and shrubs (Pistacia terebinthus). This plant is a perennial which overwinters as a bulb, in which nutrients are stored for the next spring. All species in the Scilla genus are known for their toxic properties, which may cause serious digestive disorders.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The survival of this species depends on the conservation of the remaining oak forests.These have been considerably reduced by logging for timber, road construction and expansion of farmland. Large old oak trees have become rare and scattered where there used to be a closed forest cover. While S. morrisii does not seem to be declining in numbers of individuals, the extent of its habitat is decreasing due to road construction and increased agricultural land use.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Actions in Place
Legally: This species is protected by the Bern Convention (ratified by the Government of Cyprus in 1988), where it is listed in Appendix I. Based on the results of a LIFE Third Countries Project, the species is also listed in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive. Moreover, it is included in the Red Data Book for the threatened plants of Cyprus, which will be published by the Government of Cyprus in 2005. The EU adhesion has clearly had a positive effect on species protection as management plans are now rapidly harmonized with European law and strictly enforced.

In situ: The two sites where this species is found have been proposed by the LIFE Third Countries Project as Special Protection Areas (SPA) by the Natura 2000 Network.

Ex situ: Small numbers of seeds have been collected from the wild and stored in the seed bank of the Department of Botany at the University of Athens.

Actions Needed
In situ: The Government of Cyprus should inform landowners of the presence of this rare taxon on their property, and prohibit any action that could threaten these populations.

Ex situ: Seeds representative of the genotype of this species need to be collected and stored in several seedbanks. This species should also be grown in botanical gardens.

Bibliography [top]

Council of Europe. 1992. Datasheets of flora species for revision of Appendix I of the Bern Convention. Vols III & IV. Council of Europe, Publishing and Documentation Service, Strasbourg,France.

IUCN. 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 04 May 2006.

Kadis, C. 1995. On the reproductive biology of the strictly protected plants of Cyprus. PhD Thesis. University of Athens, Athens.

Kadis, C.C. and Georghiou, K. 1994. Scilla morrisii Meikle: A case study for plant diversity conservation in Cyprus. Noticiero de Biologia, Abstracts of the International Conference on landscape degradation in Mediterranean-type Ecosystems (MEDECOS VII), Chile., 32pp.

Meikle, R.D. 1977, 1985. Flora of Cyprus. The Bentham -Moxon Trust Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.

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.

Pantelas, V., Papachristophorou, T. and Christodoulou, P. 1993. Cyprus flora in colour: the endemics. Nicosia, Cyprus.

Tsintidis, T.C. and Kurtellaridis, L. 1995. The endemic plants of Cyprus. Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Foresters Society, Nicosia.

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.

Citation: Kadis, C. & Christodoulou, C.S. 2006. Scilla morrisii. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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