‘Extinct’ plant rediscovered after 20 years

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SURPRISING: More than 1,200 examples of the rare plant found. Photo Credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek, Wikimedia

A BIOLOGIST from Orihuela has stumbled across a plant in the area that was previously believed to be extinct, the last one being seen some 20 years ago.

Therefore, the Orihuela City Council will set in motion the procedures to ensure that an area of the Sierra de Orihuela can get a ‘special reserve’ status from the Valencian Government.

The announcement comes shortly after the recent and surprising discovery of 1,200 specimens of the Notoceras bicorne plant that is native to Spain, Africa and parts of Asia.

They were found by biologist Gonzalo Escudero in an inaccessible area of the Sierra and it will now be the task to discover who owns the land to put in place protection procedures.

According to Environment Councillor Miguel Angel Fernandez, until now the only known examples of this plant within the Valencian Community were around 300 growing in the Sierra de Callosa.

The plant, catalogued as ‘vulnerable’ was located for the first time in Orihuela in 1816, but nothing was really known about it until 170 years later in 1986 when a botanist from the University of Murcia discovered examples in the nearby Sierra Oriolana.

Reports in the Spanish media state that as the Notoceras bicorne is classed as a vulnerable species, it is totally forbidden to pick or remove the plant under the terms of a Royal Decree.

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