Barbaricina Columbine

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

aquilegia barbaricina.jpg

The barbaricina columbine (Aquilegia barbaricina) is a plant that is endemic to Italy, on the island of Sardinia. It grows along water courses between 1,300-1,400m altitude. The plant can reach 50cm in height. The external petals are white, with the centre petals greenish with lilac hues. It is considered a neoendemic species - one that has evolved relatively recently due to geographical isolation. It is thought to only occur in a few places along a deep wooded valley on Monte Spada, with less than 50 mature individuals. The plant is not affected by grazing animals as it is toxic. However, it is greatly threatened by habitat degradation. The beauty and rarity of this flower makes it attractive to collectors, who can easily access the sites where it is found. There is little doubt that this species will become extinct in the near future if no conservation efforts are taken.