Establishment of a Plant Micro-reserve Netwrok in Cyprus for the Conservation of Priority Species and Habitats

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Ophrys kotschyi

Ophrys kotschyi H. Fleischm. & Soό

Conservation status: Vu (C2a(i))
Protection status: 92/43/EEC Directive (Annex II - priority species), Bern Conversion (Appendix I - strictly protected)

Tuberous, erect, glabrous perennial herb, 10-30 cm high. Endemic to Cyprus. It has been surveyed at 30 locations, in a variety of habitats: phrygana and maquis, grassy slopes, field margins, sparse pine forests and moist places, at altitude 0-900 m. Usually it has small subpopulations of about 50 plants; some exceptions are the subpopulations at Mammari (about 500 plants), between Mitsero and Kato Moni (about 200 plants), near Alambra (about 200 plants) and Akrotiri peninsula (300-400 plants).Three locations, at Athalassa National Forest Park, Kosi and Akrotiri Peninsula (partly) are within state forest land; and 4 subpopulations at Mammari, Mitsero, Agios Sozomenos and Larnaka salt lake are within Natura 2000 sites.

Flowering period: March - April
Fruiting period: May

1. Recreation activities and disturbance of natural habitats (plant collection).
2. Genetic erosion - Reduction of genetic variability (low ability in sexual reproduction).
3. Fire (the burning of the straw remnants in the fields every autumn poses a severe threat to the quality of
Ophrys kotschyi habitat).
4. Unsustainable Agriculture (expansion of cultivated areas - lack of the species' pollinator by the extensive use of pesticides in the cultivated areas).
5. Limited public awareness.

The project will target one of the largest subpopulation of this species, which is situated at PERIOCHI MITSEROU site. This subpopulation comprises approximately 300 individuals.

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