Artemisia chamaemelifolia

Artemisia chamaemelifolia Vill.

Asteraceae – Composite family

Conservation status. Critically Endangered [CR B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2a(i,ii); C2b(i)]. BDA. Glacial relic.

Morphology and biology. Almost glabrous, aromatic perennial. Rhizome short, semi-woody at base, with numerous sterile rosettes. Flowering stems 30–50 cm, erect, cylindrical, pale to dark brown, branched from the base. Leaves 2–3-pinnatisect, lower petiolate, withering at anthesis, the remaining green to pale green, glabrous or sparsely hairy; the leaf-lobes 2–4 × 0.5 mm, linear to filiform. Capitula 4–6 mm in diameter, broadly ovate to almost globose, numerous, many-flowered, in a dense, compound panicle. Involucral bracts green, glabrous or sparsely hairy; outer with narrow scarious margin, inner with broad, almost as half as the bract, brown scarious margin. Flowers with yellow, glabrous corollas, achenes prismatic. Fl. VI–VIII, fr. VIII–X. Wind pollination. Reproduction by seeds and rhizome shoots.

Habitats and populations. Grows on grassy and stony karst places. The only locality in Bulgaria and on the Balkans is in Ponor Mt, on a restricted area. Forms subpopulations with relatively high numerical strength; individuals are solitary or in groups, sometimes being a subdominant in high mountain herbaceous communities.

Distribution in Bulgaria. Balkan Range (western – Ponor Mt, Golyama Mogila peak, above Brakyovtsi village and between Ostriya Vrah and Torlovichka Mogila peaks above Breze and Dobravitsa villages); at about 1560 m alt.

General distribution. The Alps, Cantabria Mts, Stara Planina Mts, Caucasus, SW Asia (E Asia Minor, N Iran).

Threats. Aridisation of climate; trampling and drying of habitats by tourists; very small population and low reproductive potential of the species; the habitat characteristics are very specific.

Conservation measures taken. The species is protected by the Biodiversity Act. The localities are in a site of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria. An Action plan for conservation of the species is in a process of elaboration.

Conservation measures needed. Study of the population numerical strength, the biology and ecology of the species and the threatening factors; monitoring of the populations and collection of seeds for storage in seed genebanks; designation a protected territory for the conservation of the species localities.

References. Jordanov 1923, 1924.

Author: Chavdar Gussev

Artemisia chamaemelifolia (distribution map)

Artemisia chamaemelifolia (drawing)