Punta Rizzo Cornflower

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

The local cornflower (Centaurèa akroteriensis) in Punta Pizzo – a promontory south of Gallipoli, in Isola di Sant’Andrea Regional Natural Park, was officially recognized as a new botanical species and included in Phytotaxa (an authoritative and rigorous international journal of systematics, botany and biodiversity), on March 19th, 2020.

It features large and long leaves, jagged and pubescent, as well as large fluffy flower heads of purple-lilac ligulate flowers, protected by a calyx of bracts covered with bristly and hooked thorns.

This Asteracea was actually discovered by the botanist Roberto Gennaio from Taviano (who had previously identified a wild orchid in Ugento, the Serapias apulica uxentina) in 2013.
The new Centaurea akroteriensis was initially considered a variant of the Centaurea seridis sonchifolia. After seven years of research and comparisons among the different Centaurea found throughout the Mediterranean area, Roberto and his friend Quintino Manni, a botany enthusiast, came to the conclusion that what they had found, was an unknown species.
Nicknamed “cornflower of Punta Rizzo” (All the Centaurea varieties are commonly called cornflowers, after the bachelor’s button, Centaurea cyanus), it was then given the specific definition of akroteriensis, after the Greek term “akroterion”, which means “promontory”.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Punta Rizzo, Gallipoli (Lecce)(LE)

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