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Observing Nature: Oro de risco

Oro de risco

Scientific name: ‘Anagyris latifolia’          

Common name: Oro de risco

Family: ‘Fabaceae’        

Genus: ‘Anagyris’

Endemic to: Surroundings of the Viera y Clavijo Botanical Gardens, Gran Canaria

Other locations: Tenerife, La Palma and La Gomera

Description: Plant species considered in danger of extinction in the National Catalogue of Species under Threat and in need of a recovery plan.

It is an ornamental shrub which can reach over three metres in height and whose yellow flowers appear profusely at the end of winter. The species has intricate branches, trifoliate leaves that are smooth on the face side and velvety on the reverse with a marked central vein. The fruit appears in the form of beans, a more or less flat pulse, slightly curved or wavy, in which the individual seeds can be appreciated. The plant propagates itself via the seeds with a slow germination which does little to help with its conservation. It can be found in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma and la Gomera, although its presence in all the Isles is scarce. Its greatest presence can be found in Tenerife, and in Gran Canaria, it has only been found in three places with 14 and 50 individual specimens respectively. One of these three populations can be found in a natural state, in the area of the Jardin Canario.

It can be found in different environments and in a great variety of soil types, from the coast up to the pine forest level, or from sea level to an altitude of 1,300 metres. All the locations share inaccessibility as a common factor. The fact that these populations are so isolated and made up of few individuals is a serious threat factor due to the lack of genetic variation. It is a species that has a number of traditional uses as a medicinal plant and also as forage, it is this latter factor which leads to the belief that goats and rabbits are also directly responsible for the decline of the species.  Nevertheless, the grave alteration of the territory as a result of agricultural work, housing construction, opening communication infrastructures, water conduits and landfill tips are some of the more pressing problems at the present time. Along with other species of flora that are under threat in La Palma it is object of a specific conservation programme that is being carried out on the island.

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