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Biologia

, Volume 70, Issue 7, pp 879–892 | Cite as

The Paliurus spina-christi dominated vegetation in Europe

  • Simona CasavecchiaEmail author
  • Nello Biscotti
  • Simone Pesaresi
  • Edoardo Biondi
Article

Abstract

The revision of the Paliurus spina-christi dominated vegetation of Europe is presented here. The study area includes the north-eastern part of Iberian Peninsula and Provence to the west, and spreads through the Apennine Peninsula to the Balkan Peninsula and up to Eastern Mediterranean areas. The phytosociological relevés of Paliurus spina-christi dominated vegetation found in the literature for these European territories were gathered together in a phytosociological table. Floristic analysis, cluster analysis, and indirect gradient analysis were performed to determine the similarities and differences between the different Paliurus spina-christi dominated communities and their correlations with the main bioclimatic indices described in the literature. The various analyses highlight the existence of nine different associations (one of which is described here for the first time) that are attributed to different syntaxonomic levels.

In the conclusion, a syntaxonomical scheme is proposed that classifies the European vegetation of shrublands in the class Rhamno-Prunetea which includes the class Paliuretea. Currently, we recognized three orders within this class: Prunetalia spinosae for central and south-central Europe; Pyro spinosae-Rubetalia ulmifolii within the Temperate oceanic bioclimate of the sub-Mediterranean variant; Paliuretalia spinae-christi with a central Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean distribution, that mainly occurs in the central-eastern Mediterranean (Southern Apennine Peninsula) and the Balkans.

Finally, a part of the shrub vegetation dominated by Paliurus spina-christi is referred to the class Quercetea ilicis, the order Pistacio lentisci-Rhamnetalia alaterni, the alliance Oleo sylvestris-Ceratonion siliquae and the suballiance Oleo sylvestris-Paliurenion spinae-christi that refers to thermophilous shrub communities that require high edaphic humidity.

Key words

Paliurus spina-christi dominated vegetation cluster analysis indirect gradient analysis bioclimatic indices plant ecology phytosociology syntaxonomy 

Abbreviations

Io

annual ombrothermic index

Cti

compensated thermicity index

Ic

extended continentality index

SIA

species indicator analysis (SIA)

NMDS

non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination

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Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Prof. Jesus Izco (Santiago de Compostela) for his precious nomenclatural advice, and Dr Andraž Čarni (Ljubljana) and Dr Dimitar Uzunov (Cosenza) for having kindly provided part of the bibliography of the Balkan countries.

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Copyright information

© Slovak Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simona Casavecchia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nello Biscotti
    • 1
  • Simone Pesaresi
    • 1
  • Edoardo Biondi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental SciencesPolytechnic University of MarcheAnconaItaly

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