Festuca valesiaca Schleich. ex Gaudin subsp. valesiaca is acknowledged as one of the most characteristic grasses of the continental grasslands and steppes of Eurasia. In Italy, the species was known almost only from the continental valleys of the Alpine chain (with the exception of two small populations at the northernmost edge of the Apennines). Here, we report on the first confirmed finding of F. valesiaca subsp. valesiaca in the surroundings of the Fucino Basin, Central Apennines. This finding expands by c. 400 km southwards the species’ range in Italy. The identity of the species was first ascertained by means of leaf cross-sections and stomata measurements, and then confirmed by chromosome count. Its habitat preferences within the area were found to match well with those described in the literature for C-Europe. After discussing some identification issues and the population’s ecological niche, we present the main biogeographic implications of our finding. By recalling and discussing similar examples, we conclude that during the Holocene forest spread some Apennine “dry valleys” performed as refugia for a number of Pleistocene steppic taxa. The grasslands of these areas may thus be ancient and valuable ecosystems maintained by climate and disturbance throughout the Holocene.

Filibeck, G., Cancellieri, L., Bartolucci, F., Becker, U., Conti, F., Maestri, S., et al. (2020). Festuca valesiaca Schleich. ex Gaudin newly discovered in the Central Apennines (Italy): a further example of steppe relict in the Abruzzo “dry valleys”. PLANT BIOSYSTEMS, 154(5), 593-600 [10.1080/11263504.2019.1651784].

Festuca valesiaca Schleich. ex Gaudin newly discovered in the Central Apennines (Italy): a further example of steppe relict in the Abruzzo “dry valleys”

Cancellieri L.;Sperandii M. G.;
2020

Abstract

Festuca valesiaca Schleich. ex Gaudin subsp. valesiaca is acknowledged as one of the most characteristic grasses of the continental grasslands and steppes of Eurasia. In Italy, the species was known almost only from the continental valleys of the Alpine chain (with the exception of two small populations at the northernmost edge of the Apennines). Here, we report on the first confirmed finding of F. valesiaca subsp. valesiaca in the surroundings of the Fucino Basin, Central Apennines. This finding expands by c. 400 km southwards the species’ range in Italy. The identity of the species was first ascertained by means of leaf cross-sections and stomata measurements, and then confirmed by chromosome count. Its habitat preferences within the area were found to match well with those described in the literature for C-Europe. After discussing some identification issues and the population’s ecological niche, we present the main biogeographic implications of our finding. By recalling and discussing similar examples, we conclude that during the Holocene forest spread some Apennine “dry valleys” performed as refugia for a number of Pleistocene steppic taxa. The grasslands of these areas may thus be ancient and valuable ecosystems maintained by climate and disturbance throughout the Holocene.
Filibeck, G., Cancellieri, L., Bartolucci, F., Becker, U., Conti, F., Maestri, S., et al. (2020). Festuca valesiaca Schleich. ex Gaudin newly discovered in the Central Apennines (Italy): a further example of steppe relict in the Abruzzo “dry valleys”. PLANT BIOSYSTEMS, 154(5), 593-600 [10.1080/11263504.2019.1651784].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/416091
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