Zelkova sicula 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Urticales Ulmaceae

Scientific Name: Zelkova sicula Di Pasq., Garfì & Quézel
Taxonomic Source(s): The Plant List. 2016. The Plant List. Version 1.1. RBG Kew. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,v)+2ab(i,ii,v); C2a(ii); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Garfì, G.
Reviewer(s): Strahm, W. & de Montmollin, B. (Mediterranean Island Plants Red List Authority)
This means that the area in which this species is found is very small, and both the area as well as the number of individuals continue to decline. The small number of individuals in a single declining population makes the probability of extinction of this species very high.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This single remote population extends 200 m along the banks of a stream on the northern slopes of the Iblei Mts in southeastern Sicily.
Countries occurrence:
Italy (Sicilia)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:One subpopulation of 200-250 individuals exists.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This small tree grows along the banks of a stream on north facing slopes in a very old Cork Oak (Quercus suber) forest.

The genus Zelkova only has a few species, of which a few grow in Western and Eastern Asia, plus two in the Mediterranean basin (this species in Sicily and another, Z. abelicea, which is a threatened endemic from Crete). These two species represent relicts that have persisted over a long period of time and may have been more widespread in the past. Both are threatened by habitat change.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The ancient oak forest hosting this species is rather degraded due to overexploitation (logging, grazing, and removal of cork) for several centuries. In addition, over the last few years several major droughts have caused the death of several trees. Z. sicula requires relatively moist conditions. Therefore, if rainfall remains low, this species is almost certain to become extinct.

Few flowering individuals have been seen in recent years and the fruit produced appears to be sterile. Reproduction is largely vegetative.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Actions in Place
Legally: No measures taken.

In situ: The distribution area of this species is fenced in order to prevent grazing. It is entirely situated within an SCI (Site of Community Importance) area, which is part of the Natura 2000 network.

Ex situ: This species is cultivated at the Botanical Conservatory of Brest, at the Botanical Garden of the University of Catania, and in the Arboretum "Monna Giovannella" of the University of Florence.

Actions Needed
A restoration plan including both ex situ and in situ activities needs to be established. In order to determine the degree of affiliation between all the individuals in the population, a broader genetic study needs to be undertaken.

Citation: Garfì, G. 2006. Zelkova sicula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T61678A12522379. . Downloaded on 18 October 2017.
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