Centaurea horrida Badarò

Family: Compositae
Scientific name: Centaurea horrida Badarò
Synonyms: -
Italian name: Fiordaliso spinoso
English name: -
Brief description:

This is a highly ramified, perennial plant up to 70 cm tall. Leaves from sessile, oblong-lanceolate to pedunculate, pinnatifid, and pinnatipartite, terminal segment with a single apical spine. Flower heads solitary or in groups (up to 3), 5-6 mm in diameter; cylindrical-ovoidal; mucronate bract. White or pinkish flowers. Achenes greyish, puberulent, 0.36 cm in length cm, with elaiosomes. Pappus sikly, shorter than the achene.

Biology and ecology: It is a camaephyte and blooms from May to June. It reproduces sexually, through cross-pollination by insect, either in the same plant or between different individuals. Seed dispersal is mixed, ballistic/myrmechory, at limited distances. 50% of ovaries do not produce seeds.
Status in Sardinia: Endemic to northern Sardinia. The species has five main populations: the Island of Asinara, Isola Piana di Porto Torres, the Stintino peninsula, the Capo Caccia peninsula, and the island of Tavolara.
Habitat in Sardinia:

It is found in primary garrigue on steep seaside cliffs, and secondary garrigue in inland areas, together with Astragalus terraccianoi Vals., Euphorbia pithyusa L. subsp. pithyusa e Helichrysum microphyllum (Willd) Nyman, as part of the Centaureetum horridae association in the Euphorbion pithyusae alliance.

The association is part of habitat of community interest 5320: “Low formations of euphorbia close to cliffs”, pursuant to Dir. 43/92/EEC “Habitat”.

General notes:

Centaurea horrida is listed in Annex II of Dir. 43/92/EEC “Habitat” as a priority species, and in Annex 1 of the Bern Convention; additionally, it was listed as globally vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN in 1997; a recent re-appraisal of its conservation status (Pisanu & Filigheddu 2008) suggests it should be considered globally endangered (EN).

The species is found in the Asinara National Park, Porto Conte Regional Park, Capo Caccia Marine Protected Area, Tavolara – Punta Coda di Cavallo Marine Protected Area, pSCI ITB010001 “Isola Asinara”, pSCI ITB 010042 “Capo Caccia (with the islands of Foradada and Piana) and Punta del Giglio”, pSCI ITB010043 “Coast and islets of northwestern Sardinia”, pSCI ITB010082 “Isola Piana”, and pSCI ITB010010 “Tavolara, Molara and Molarotto”.

Species factsheet by Stefania Pisanu e Rossella Filigheddu UNISS

Main references:

• Desole L., 1956. Nuove stazioni e distribuzione geografica della “Centaurea horrida” Bad.Webbia, 12(1): 251-324. Farris E., Pisanu S., Mameli G., Filigheddu R., 2008. Studi demografici e genetici su specie vegetali di interesse per la conservazione in Sardegna. Informatore Botanico Italiano, 40(1): 177-178.

• Farris E., Pisanu S., Ceccherelli G., Filigheddu R., 2009. Effects of the management regime on the performance of the endangered Mediterranean Centaurea horrida Badarò (Asteraceae). Journal for Nature Conservation, 17: 15-24.

• Farris E., Pisanu S., Ceccherelli G., Filigheddu R., 2012. Variability at local scales and between habitats in population structure and reproductive traits of the Mediterranean plant Centaurea horrida: implications for management. Journal for Coastal Research, 28: 193-198.

• Pisanu S., Filigheddu R., 2008. Centaurea horrida Badarò. Informatore Botanico Italiano, 40(1): 62-63.

• Pisanu S., Filigheddu R. Farris E., 2009. The conservation status of an endemic species of northern Sardinia: Centaurea horrida Badarò (Asteraceae). Plant Biosystems, 143(2): 275–282.

• Pisanu S., Mameli G., Farris E., Binelli G., Filigheddu R., 2011. A natural homoploid hybrid between Centaurea horrida and Centaurea filiformis (Asteraceae) as revealed by morphological and genetic traits. Folia Geobotanica, 46:69–86.

• Pisanu S., Farris E., Filigheddu R., Garcìa M.B., 2012. Demographic effects of large, introduced herbivores on a long-lived endemic plant. Plant Ecology, 213:1543–1553. Pisanu S., Trainito E., 2012. Nascita di una specie. Collana “Quaderni dell’Area Marina Protetta” n. 5, Taphros. Valsecchi F., 1977. Le piante endemiche della Sardegna: 9- Centaurea horrida. Bad. Boll. Soc. Sarda Sci. Nat., 16: 299-303.