100 endangered plant species from the Extremadura region of Spain are now safeguarded for future generations

The Millennium Seed Bank has received a donation of 181 seed accessions, representing nearly 100 endangered plant species, from the Research Centre “La Orden-Valdesequera” of the Regional Government of Extremadura (Spain).

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25 Apr 2013

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MSB Extramadura seeds1

Patricia Wood from Conservation and Technology Section opening the batch with the donated accessions from Extremadura (Photo: W. Stuppy)

The seeds donated to the Millennium Seed Bank were collected thanks to the project “Conservation, Biology and Ecology of plant species from the Extremadura Regional Catalogue of Threatened Plant Species” developed during 2006-2008 and the project “Review of the Extremadura Region Catalogue of Threatened Plant Species” developed during 2009-2011. The Research Head of these projects was Dr. Francisco María Vázquez Pardo and the researchers who participated were Dr. José Blanco, Dra. Soledad Ramos, Sara Rincón, David García, María Gutiérrez, Francisco Márquez and María José Guerra.

The objectives of these projects were

  • to assess the conservation status of the plant species in Extremadura
  • to review their taxonomy
  • to achieve flora surveys in order to update the Threatened Flora Catalogue of Extremadura

The seeds are now being curated prior to long-term storage in the Millennium Seed Bank. Jointly with our partners all over the world, we share a common vision to safeguard plants for future generations.

Orchid species saved

This orchid is highly threatened, being classified as “at risk of extinction” in Extremadura regional legislation.

Serapias perez-chiscanoi Acedo
Serapias perez-chiscanoi Acedo  (Photo: F.M. Vázquez Pardo)

Serapias perez-chiscanoi Acedo is an endemic orchid from the west of the Iberian Peninsula. This beautiful orchid grows at low altitude (less than 400 meters) in acid–to- neutral, loam, clay and stony soils in small hollows of grasslands with some level of soil moisture that are associated with “dehesas” agro-forest ecosystems.

It is at risk of extinction and the main threats are habitat ploughing, cattle predation, soil compaction and vegetation control with herbicides. Conservation measures should focus on regulation and management of land use, and population monitoring.

Orchis italica Poir
Orchis italica Poir F.M. Vázquez Pardo

Another orchid, Orchis italica Poir. can be found in southern Europe, western Asia and North Africa.

In Extremadura this orchid grows at an altitude of between 300 and 900 meters on rich, calcareous and evolved soils in open grasslands with scrublands coexisting with other orchid species.

Their populations are decreasing due to cattle predation of the bulbs, the negative impact of fire, ploughing and herbicide use.

Fortunately, there are large and abundant populations with a good natural turnover, so this orchid has been classified as “of special interest” in Extremadura regional legislation.

Other information of interest


By: Teresa Gil, European Partnership Officer

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