Eriolobus trilobatus

Eriolobus trilobatus (DC.) M. Roem.

Rosaceae – Rose family

Conservation status. Critically Endangered [CR C 2a(i,ii); D]. BDA. Included in World list of rare trees as ‘rare’.

Morphology and biology. Deciduous tree, up to 10 m high, crown rounded to spread. Leaves with a cordate base, deeply trilobed, dentate, 5–7 cm long. Inflorescences umbelliform, with 6–8 white, 3–4 cm in diameter, aromatic flowers. Sepals 5, petals 5, stamens 20–30. Fruits oblong-ovoid to rounded, pale yellow, with stone cells, edible after mellow, astringent. Fl. V–VI, fr. IX–X. Insect pollination. Reproduction by seeds.

Habitats and populations. Dry open xerothermic deciduous forests, in Bulgaria at forest margins. Two trees are known, at approx. 3 km distance from each other. Another tree grew nearby in the past. Trees are fruiting and seeds are viable but there is no natural recruitment.

Distribution in Bulgaria. Rhodopi Mts (eastern – near Svirachi and Belopolyane villages, Ivailovgrad region); up to 300 m alt.

General distribution. E Mediterranean (Syria, Lebanon, Israel, NE Greece, Bulgaria).

Threats. Limited distribution and lack of natural recruitment; fires in dry habitats represent a potential negative factor.

Conservation measures taken. Protected species by the Biodiversity Act. Both known trees are specially protected and are within a site of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria. A proposal for designation of the locality near Belopolyane village as a protected area has been submitted. An Action plan for conservation of the species is in a process of elaboration.

Conservation measures needed. Ex situ propagation and planting of young trees near the maternal ones.

References. Stojanov et al. 1955b; Olfield et al. 1998; Petrova 2004.

Author: Antoaneta Petrova

Eriolobus trilobatus (distribution map)

Eriolobus trilobatus (drawing)