Abies nebrodensis

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Sicilian fir
Abies nebrodensis Castellana Sicula1.jpg
Abies nebrodensis
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Species: A. nebrodensis
Binomial name
Abies nebrodensis
(Lojac.) Mattei

Sicilian fir (Abies nebrodensis) is a fir native to the Nebrodi and Madonie mountains in northern Sicily. It is a medium-size evergreen coniferous tree growing to 15–25 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m. It occurs at altitudes of 1400–1,600 m. As a result of deforestation, it is now extremely rare, with only 21 mature trees surviving; replanting programmes are meeting with limited success due to heavy grazing pressure by livestock belonging to local farmers. It is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List[2]

Despite its scientific name, the species is limited to the steep, dry slopes of Mt. Scalone in the Madonie Mountains in the north-central part of Sicily.

The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1.5–2.5 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two greenish-white bands of stomata below. The tip of the leaf is blunt with a notched tip, but sometimes with a pointed tip, particularly on shoots high on older trees. The cones are 10–16 cm long and 4 cm broad, with about 150 scales, each scale with an exserted bract and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.

It is closely related to silver fir A. alba, which replaces it in the Apennine Mountains of Italy and elsewhere further north in Europe; some botanists treat Sicilian fir as a variety of silver fir, as Abies alba var. nebrodensis.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas, P. (2009). "Abies nebrodensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 4 January 2014.  - Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is critically endangered and the criteria used.
  2. ^ IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. <http://www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 11 March 2010.