Estimations In Distribution And Growing Characteristics Of Wild Hypericum Perforatum L. (Hypericaceae) Populations During The Last Decade In Armenia

Armine Abrahamyan

Abstract


The small mountainous country of Armenia has a rich flora of ca. 3600 species of vascular plants, which makes about half of entire Caucasian flora, distributed across desert and semi-desert, steppe, forest and alpine landscape. Anthropogenic threats to this biodiversity such as overpopulation, deforestation and urbanization have simultaneously hindered research and increased the need for it. Of the ca. 500 species in the Armenian flora with a record of medicinal and/or economic use, ca. 50 species are used in the folk medicine and include both wild-collected (Crataegus sp., Hypericum perforatum, Artemisia absinthium) and cultivated (Chamomilla recutita, Mentha piperita, Crocus sativus) species (1). Only limited information on the genetic biodiversity, population location, structure and size, and conservation status of most of these species is, however, at this time available. During 2007-2009, field studies were conducted to re-locate populations of wild Hypericum perforatum L. (common St. Johnswort, Hypericaceae) on the basis of historical (i.e. herbarium voucher, (2)) records, and to discover new populations. The plants habitat and phenological characteristics were estimated growing in different populations. GPS map of population distribution was created and its overall sizes were assessed. According to historical records this species had been widely distributed in the south regions of Armenia, however almost half of the populations no longer existed in the cited locations. However, 2 new populations were loacated in the south east regions. Evidence that the abundance and distributional range of H. perforatum is expanding in the north region was collected. This research provided baseline data that can be used for the development of further ex situ and in vitro strategies to conserve unique genotypes of this important medicinal and culinary species in Armenia.

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References


Fayvush, G., Danielyan T., Nalbandyan A. (2004) Armenia as a producer of medicinal plants: possibilities and perspectives. Available online (accessed 12 April 2010): http://www.nature-ic.am/NCSA/Publication/ Medical_Plants_eng.pdf.

Takhtagyan A. L. “Flora of Armenia”, part 5, Yerevan, 1966, p. 382




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/etr2011vol2.958

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