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Plant Sociology 54 (1) 2017

pag. 3-57: Phytosociological investigation on the class Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea in Greece

S. Brullo, C. Brullo, S. Cambria, G. Giusso del Galdo & P. Minissale

Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Catania, via A. Longo 19, I-95125 Catania, Italy.

doi: 10.7338/pls2017541/01

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The authors examine the plant communities belonging to the Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea class occurring along the rocky coast of continental and insular Greece. In order to highlight the syntaxonomic relationships among the eastern Mediterranean plant communities and the remaining Euro-Mediterranean territories, all known literature on this type of vegetation was considered and evalutated. Basing on these data, an updated syntaxonomical arrangement is provided. In particular, within the Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea class, three well diferrentiated orders can be recognized: a) Crithmo maritimi-Limonietalia distributed along the Mediterranean and South Atlantic Iberian coasts; b) Crithmo maritimi-Armerietalia maritimae, circumscribed to the Europaean Atlantic coasts, from the North Iberian territories up to the British Isles as well as Azores Islands; c) Frankenio ericifoliae-Astydamietalia latifoliae, regarding the Macaronesian Archipelago (Canary Islands and Madeira) and coasts of southern Morocco. The so far known alliances and suballiances of each order are examined, highlighting their proper nomenclatural and phytogeographical aspects. As concerns the Greek territories, this vegetation is included in the order Crithmo maritimi-Limonietalia, which is represented by two alliances, i.e.Cichorio spinosi-Limonion roridi, distributed in the Aegean area, and Crithmo maritimi-Elytrigion athericae replacing the previous one in the Ionian coasts. For both syntaxa, two suballiances are recognized, the homotypic ones gather the most halophilous associations localized in the belt very closed to the sea and usually differentiated by the dominance of Limonium species, respectively proposed as Cichorio spinosi-Limonienion roridi and Crithmo maritimi-Elytrigienion athericae, while the other ones group the less salt tolerant phytocoenoses occurring in the innermost band and characterized by pulvinate dwarf shrubs, respectively proposed as Phagnalo graeci-Anthyllidenion hermanniae and Elytrigio athericae-Anthyllidenion hermanniae. Due to the remarkable extension of the Greek coasts, accentuated by the extraordinary number of islands and islets, the Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea class is represented by numerous associations, many of which characterized by endemic Limonium, whose identification is based on a recent monograph on the genus Limonium in Greece. In the past, the poor knowledge on this genus in Greece often led to a misidentification of the Limonium species, with quite relevant syntaxonomical consequences. Basing on several unpublished phytosociological releves, carried out during the last three decades, many associations (80) are here described, most of which are new. For each of them, nomenclatural, floristic, structural, ecological, chorological and syntaxonomical information are provided.


Crithmo maritimi-Limonietea, Greece, phytosociology, rocky coast, syntaxonomy, vegetation