Candytuft (Iberis runemarkii)

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Description

Iberis runemarkii is a semi-herbaceous plant that belongs to the family of Brassicaceae.  It has a main stalk that has many opposite branches.  All the floriferous branches, those bearing flowers, have small opposite leaves that have two to three clusters of flowers at the top of each. Each cluster is contains 15 to 70 small flowers and these flowers have four greenish sepals with one pink spot at the top and four white or pinkish sepals. The seeds are egg shaped and are found in capsules called siliqua (1).

Life Cycle

It blooms from May to June.

Habitat

It mostly grows on limestone soils and can be found at altitudes between 600 and 800 m (1).

Distribution

It is a species native to Ikaria which is only found at the southwest part of the Atheras mountain chain, two to three kilometers from the village of Plagia (1).  This is the only recorded population.

Conservation status

It is very important species within Ikaria which is protected by the Berne convention and Greek law (Presidential Degree 67/1981).  Its exact numbers are not known as only a few individuals were studied because the area is inaccessible.  It is for this same reason that this species is not yet threatened but it is vulnerable to any kind of disruption (1). Its biggest risks are fire and overgrazing (2).

References

Description translated by Anna Theodoridou (2009)

(1)   http://users.uoa.gr/~kgeorghi/files/archimedflora.pdf

(2)   http://www.itia.ntua.gr/filotis/SitesData/GR4120004.pdf

(3)   http://natura.minenv.gr/natura/server/user/plants.asp?lng=GR&siteCode=GR4120004