Hammarbya paludosa (L.) Kuntze
Orchidaceae – Orchid family
Conservation status. Critically Endangered [CR B1ab(ii,iii)+ab(ii)]. BDA, CITES(2).
Morphology and biology. Perennial. Rhizome vertical, with 2–3 pseudobulbs (4–8 mm), the uppermost of which with 2(3) leaves. The largest leaf 1–3 cm, often with a row of bulbils at the tip. Inflorescence 2–15 cm, with up to 30 miniature green flowers. Petals and sepals 1.5–3 mm long, labellum pointing upwards due to double twist (360◦) of the ovary and pedicel. Fruit a pod. Fl. VII–VIII (sporadically), fr. IX–X. Pollinated by small flies. Reproduction mostly by vegetative means (bulbils, produced on leaves), rarely by seeds.
Habitats and populations. Water-saturated communities of Sphagnum mosses, in peat bogs and transition mires, in places with nutrient-deficient acid soils. These small plants grow amongst branches of Sphagnum mosses and could be considered as one of only a few epiphytic European species. There are recent data for 2 populations in Bulgaria. The species is difficult for observations, the population numbers fluctuate between 10–60 individuals in consecutive years (unpublished data of Dimiter Vassilev).
Distribution in Bulgaria. Rhodopi Mts (central – Chairski lakes); up to 1500 m alt. There is a herbarium voucher from Sofia Region, collected at the end of 19th century.
General distribution. Europe and Asia (more frequent in the northern areas, locally found in the south). The southern boundary of the species distribution area crosses into Bulgaria.
Threats. Limited distribution; drainage of the wet areas and water pollution by nutrients and pesticides, used in the agriculture. Potential threat for the locality is change of the hydrological regime as a result of climatic changes.
Conservation measures taken. A protected species, the habitats of which need priority conservation according to the Biodiversity Act. The known locality falls in Chairite Protected Site and in a site of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria.
Conservation measures needed. Elaboration of a management plan for Chairski lakes and action plans for the rare species which grow there.
References. Stojanov et al. 1966; Stanev 1984; Vodenicharov & Vassilev 1999; Delforge 2006.
Author: Antoaneta Petrova