Endangered flowers

Sierra Nevada chamomile (Artemisia granatensis)

Plant biodiversity is of utmost importance due to the role that each species plays in the intricate dynamics of populations. Unfortunately, there are multiple reasons why these species can be lost, from natural to anthropogenic causes. When a species becomes extinct, it cannot exist again and with the loss goes also its inherent value that accumulates millions of years of history. In Spain there are 276 species of plants that are classified as endangered and in serious danger of disappearing, according to the Red List of Threatened Species.

In this article we are going to tell you what the endangered flowers best known in Spain.

Flowers in danger of extinction in Spain

The natural environment is deteriorating at an unprecedented rate. There are many animal species that no longer exist or are in danger of extinction, and the same goes for plants. The World Study of Plants and Fungi 2020 determined that 39,4% of the world's plants are at risk of extinction. That's almost double the estimate of 21% in 2016.

The report reveals an important fact: only a small proportion of existing plant species are used for food and biofuels. This can be avoided because more factories can meet these needs. It is in the food sector where this report shows that there are 7.039 edible plants that have the potential to become the food of the future. However, Just 15 plant species provide 90% of human food energy intake. Additionally, approximately 4 billion people depend entirely on three crops: rice, corn and wheat.

Grasshopper (Erigeron frigidus)

Grasshopper (Erigeron frigidus)

The zamárraga is a herbaceous plant with purple flowers. It is endemic to the Sierra Nevada mountains, a mountain range located between Almería and Granada and grows at an altitude of 3.500 meters above sea level.. It develops in the stony soil found between the rocks of the alpine meadows. Its habitat is very specific and restricted, hence its situation is in danger of extinction. They only have two occupation locations.

Its main threat is predation by wild goats. Also the vulture hybridized with Erigeron major causing displacement by the latter. Being in a National Park that receives visitors, unauthorized collection by tourists also threatens this plant. Many natural disasters such as drought, landslides and storms occur in the area, which affect these plants.

To date, there are only 130 mature specimens with the capacity to reproduce, which results in a decreasing population trend.

Paular Geranium (Erodium paularense)

This wild geranium receives its name from the Monastery of Santa María de El Paular, which shares a location with said plant. It is located in the Lozoya Valley in Madrid and in the Sierra de Guadarrama. These areas mainly have siliceous soils, but this plant likes limestone and dolomitic soil, which only occurs in specific points. This condition makes its survival difficult and makes it a very rare plant.

Among its threats that lead it to be in danger of extinction are:

  • Predation by large animals and leaf-eater ants: discover in this other article more information about Predators: what they are, types and examples.
  • The construction of roads and the establishment of quarries for mining.
  • The intense activity of collectors looking for special plants.

Wild asparagus (Asparagus fallax)

Asparagus is endemic to the Canary Islands with isolated populations in La Gomera and Tenerife. It is threatened by predation by livestock that are released to graze and by hybridization with other plants of the same genus. There is also a strong deforestation near the Montaña del Cepo that has devastated this herbaceous plant.

Silver thistle (Stemmacantha cynaroides)

Silver thistle (Stemmacantha cynaroides)

This plant produces very striking globular white-pink flowers. It is endemic to the heights of the Cañadas del Teide, in Tenerife, at 2 thousand meters high. It is very rare and for this reason it is highly preyed upon by collectors. It is also raided by rabbits and its seeds are eaten by insects, reducing the chances that they can create new individuals. Populations in Llano de Cuevas Negras, Llano de Maja and Corral del Niño are expected to disappear completely very soon.

Güigüi's Bighead (Cheirolophus falcisectus)

This plant is endemic to the island of Gran Canaria. It is associated with mountains up to 800 meters high. Its distribution area is extremely small and barely reaches 9 square kilometers. Its main threats are grazing, although it is also food for insect larvae. When droughts occur in the area, the Güigüi bighead resents it. Its population is stable, that is, it is not decreasing but it is still in danger of extinction.

Sierra Nevada chamomile (Artemisia granatensis)

Also known as royal chamomile, it is very popular because healing qualities are attributed to it. It is in great demand and this has led to overexploitation and subsequent danger of extinction. On the other hand, this plant has little genetic variability, causing it to be unable to adapt to changes in the environment.

Friar's Lechuguilla (Hypochaeris oligocephala)

This plant is critically endangered and in great danger of disappearing. It is endemic to Tenerife and only 1.330 mature specimens remain. It grows in very rocky areas, so landslides are one of the main causes that threaten it. Another natural cause is volcanic eruptions, although they are also disappearing due to the construction of roads.

Bunnies (Rupicapnos Africana)

Bunnies are herbaceous plants with small, light-colored tubular flowers. Its growth is very peculiar, since Choose cracks in the soil that have a high calcareous content and are slightly nitrified. Their seedlings do not usually survive, this being the first cause of their danger of extinction. They are expected to disappear soon.

Crag flower (Crambe feuillei)

Crag flower (Crambe feuillei)

This plant is at serious risk of extinction and its populations are declining. It is endemic to Hierro, in the Canary Islands. It is only found in two populations and is threatened by pruning resulting from road maintenance.. It has also decreased due to mountainous landslides.

Sandarac (Tetraclinis articulata)

Sandarac is a coniferous tree found in southwestern Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Its wood was used for construction, but this stopped when it became scarce. It is in danger of extinction, but fortunately its numbers are increasing thanks to legal protection.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the main species of flowers in danger of extinction in Spain and their current status.

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