Spiraea crenata

Spiraea crenata L.

Rosaceae – Rose family

Conservation status. Critically Endangered [CR A2ac; B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2ab(ii,v)]. BDA.

Morphology and biology. Shrub, up to 1 m high. Branches slightly ribbed greyish red, woody. Leaves of non-flowering branches 2.5–3.5 × 2 cm, ashy green to greyish green, usually lanceolate to lanceolate-obovate, entire or from the middle finely dentate, with 3 prominent veins parallel to the central vein on its both sides; leaves of flowering branches smaller, oblong-obovate, entire. Inflorescence umbel-like, 10–20-flowered, terminal, on the second year leafy branches. Flowers small; sepals up to 1.5 long, triangular; petals 2–3 mm long, rounded, white or yellow white. Stamens usually exceeding petals. Follicles dry when ripe. Fl. V, fr. VI–VII. Insect pollination. Reproduction by seeds and shoots.

Habitats and populations. Grows on dry, stony, calcareous places and is a typical element of the relic Ponto-Sarmatic deciduous thickets. The only population in Bulgaria is along Kamenitsa River, Kanyona locality, 2 km from Kaspichan railway station. It covers a small area (ca. 0.25 ha), and consists of several groups of shrubs flowering every year. The potential for seed reproduction is low and grazing is heavy in the area. The distribution of the species in Kabiyushka Mogila locality has not been confirmed and can be considered extinct.

Distribution in Bulgaria. NE Bulgaria (the right bank of Kamenitsa River, close to Kaspichan – Ruse railway); at about 450 m alt.

General distribution. E and NE Europe, Balkan Peninsula and NW Siberia.

Threats. Agriculture and soil pollution (neighbouring areas are agricultural land); railway transport; very restricted distribution; small population size and low reproductive potential; adapted to very specific habitat conditions.

Conservation measures taken. The species is protected by the Biodiversity. The population is within a site of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria. A proposal for designation of the locality as a protected area has been submitted. An Action plan for conservation of the species is in a process of elaboration.

Conservation measures needed. Proclamation of a protected area; elaboration of an action plan and collection of seeds for storage in relevant seed genebanks.

References. Jordanov 1936; Popova 1984; Meshinev et al. 1994.

Author: Chavdar Gussev

Spiraea crenata (distribution map)

Spiraea crenata (drawing)