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The Murcian flower has been 'revived' after 100 years
Date:10/13/2011

The species of legume known as 'Tallante's chickpea', which has not been seen for nearly a century, has finally been studied in detail. The species is thought to be in critical danger of extinction given that the only known population in the whole world is in Tallante, Murcia (Spain).

A study reveals its characteristics and the reasons as to why the Astragalus nitidiflorus legume, or Tallante's chickpea, remains critically endangered. Researchers wants to restore this floral plant which is unique to the region of Murcia, Spain and, up until recently, was thought to be extinct.

It reappeared in 2003 when a botany fan was riding their bike in the Cabezos de Pericn mountain area in Murcia and spotted a strange species of flower in a field. It was so strange that it has been nearly 100 years since it was last seen.

Juan Jos Martnez Snchez, author of the study and researcher at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) says that "Astragalus nitidiflorus is a species that was picked for the first time in 1909 in Cartagena and described by the botanist Carlos Pau in 1910." In his description Pau did not document its exact location and this, along with its rareness, meant that it remained easily unseen for almost a century.

Once this elusive species had been 'revived', the Murcia Region Department of Agriculture funded basic studies on its biology and ecology which were carried out by the UPCT. Martnez explains that "these types of tests are vital for approving a recovery plan."

The study published in Flora brings together the most significant aspects of the plants life cycle: the phenology of flowering and fruiting times, the species' reproductive success and related factors, and the recruitment patterns of new specimens of the population.

According to Martnez Snchez, "Here we are looking at a small fragmented metapopulation of small groups of individual plants. It is a perennial plant with
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Contact: Juan Jose Martinez Sanchez
Juan.Martinez@upct.es
34-968-325-442
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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