Sideritis scardica

Sideritis scardica Griseb.

Lamiaceae – Mint family

Conservation status. Endangered [EN B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv); C2a(i)]. BDA. Balkan endemic.

Morphology and biology. Perennial, herbaceous tomentose plant. Stems 1540 cm high, branched or unbranched, woody at base. Leaves opposite, with gray hairs. Verticillasters many-flowered, clustered in a dense spike. Middle bracts 1220 mm long, longer than the flowers. Calyx tubular-campanulate. Corolla lemon yellow, glandular. Nutlets ovoid. Fl. VIVIII, fr. VIII−IX. Insect pollination. Reproduction by seeds.

Habitats and populations. Occurs in open, dry, stony places, on limestone, on shallow and eroded soil. Grows in the subalpine and alpine vegetation belts accompanied by high-mountain, mostly hasmophytic plants. Populations of the species are with low numbers (not exceeding 2000) of individuals.

Distribution in Bulgaria. Slavyanka Mt, Pirin Mts (southern), Rhodopi Mts; from 1000 up to 2200 m alt.

General distribution. Central part of the Balkan Peninsula (Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, R Macedonia).

Threats. Very restricted distribution, low number of individuals in the populations and intensive collection as medicinal plants for trade could cause complete extinction of the species.

Conservation measures taken. The species is in the list of medicinal plants under special regime for conservation and use. Parts of the populations are within Alibotush Strict Nature Reserve in Slavyanka Mt., Pirin National Park, Trigradsko Zdrelo Protected Site in Rhodopi Mts. The localities are within sites of the European Ecological Network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria. The growth biology of the species has been studied and the plant is being cultivated on ca. 0.5 ha in the country.

Conservation measures needed. Protection of the species by the national Biodiversity Act; increase of the cultivation area; deposition of seeds in a seed genebank.

References. Alikovski 1983; Assenov 1989; Evstatieva et al. 1990; Evstatieva & Koleva 2000; Todorova et al. 2000; Yordanova & Apostolova 2000; Koleva et al. 2002.

Author: Lyuba Evstatieva

Sideritis scardica (distribution map)

Sideritis scardica (drawing)