26 new plant species recorded on Lemnos by the Terra Lemnia project team!

26 new plant species recorded on Lemnos by the Terra Lemnia project team!

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As part of fieldwork carried out in spring 2022 by MedINA partners Dr. Erwin Bergmeier, Professor at the Department of Vegetation & Phytodiversity Analysis of the University of Göttingen, Germany, and Dr. Stefan Meyer, a researcher at the same University, new and remarkable floristic records for the flora of Lemnos, but also of Greece, were presented!

Stefan Meyer (left) and Erwin Bergmeier (right) conducting fieldwork in spring 2022, studying plant diversity patterns in arable cereal crops in Fakos, Lemnos. Source: F.-N. Sakellarakis / MedINA.

Specifically, their results, published in the “New Floristic Records in the Balkans”1 of the scientific journal Phytologia Balcanica, show 26 new plant taxa (species & subspecies) on the island of Lemnos.
The most notable finding is Ballota nigra subsp. anatolica, a subspecies of Ballota nigra, which is recorded for the first time in Greece, thereby increasing the number of Ballota nigra subspecies of the country to six! The distribution of Ballota nigra subsp. anatolica may be more widespread on the island of Lemnos and further fieldwork is needed to understand its population status as well as its distribution extent on the island.

Ballota nigra subsp. anatolica © Hüseyin Cahid Doğan.
Source: https://kocaelibitkileri.com/ballota-nigra-subsp-anatolica/

Additionally, six more records (Pteridium aquilinum subsp. brevipes, Pulicaria sicula, Ornithogalum boucheanum, Bromus racemosus, Festuca arundinacea subsp. orientalis, Adonis aestivalis subsp. squarrosa, Viola heldreichiana) are new for the phytogeographical region of the North Aegean Islands (NAe), one of the 13 phytogeographical regions of Greece, where the island of Lemnos belongs.

The phytogeographical regions of Greece, with the phytogeographical region of the North Aegean Islands (NAe). Source: https://portal.cybertaxonomy.org/

Among them, Adonis aestivalis subsp. squarrosa certainly stands out; it is a rare subspecies recorded almost exclusively in traditionally managed cereal crops, without the application of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, deep plowing, and irrigation. It should be noted that, according to the analysis of the extinction risk status of Greek ‘weed’ species (Bergmeier & Strid, 20142), following the international standards of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Adonis aestivalis has been classified as ‘Endangered’, which further underlines the importance of the new record from Lemnos.

Adonis aestivalis subsp. squarrosa, one of the rarest subspecies of traditionally managed arable crops in Greece. Source: S. Meyer.

At the same time, in their new listings from Lemnos island, Bergmeier & Meyer report 18 taxa as new records to the island’s floristic catalog. Today, owing to the findings of the Terra Lemnia Biodiversity Core Group, coordinated by MedINA since 2018, the total flora of Lemnos accounts for 1076 plant species and subspecies! It is worth mentioning that by 2016, according to the Atlas of the Aegean Flora (Strid, 2016), the flora of Lemnos numbered 817 plant taxa. Within 5 years of targeted fieldwork, the recorded flora of Lemnos has increased by 25%!


1. Vladimirov et al (2022). New floristic records in the Balkans: 49. Phytologia Balcanica, 28(3): 399-446, Sofia.

2. Bergmeier and Strid (2014). Regional diversity, population trends and threat assessment of the weeds of traditional agriculture in Greece. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2014, 175, 607–623.