Relics of cultivation in the vascular flora of medieval West Slavic settlements and castles
This monograph presents results of research on relics of cultivation and the present vascular flora of sites of medieval fortified settlements and castles in Central Europe. Special attention was paid to 109 West Slavic sites located in Poland, northeastern Germany, and the Czech Republic. For comparison, floristic data were collected also at 21 sites of medieval settlements and castles of Baltic tribes, East Slavs, and Teutonic knights. Results of this study confirm the hypothesis that remnants of medieval fortified settlements and castles are valuable habitat islands in the agricultural landscape, and are refuges of the plants that have accompanied West Slavs since the Middle Ages. At the 109 West Slavic archaeological sites, 876 vascular plant species were recorded. The present flora of the study sites is highly specific, clearly distinct from the surrounding natural environment, as shown by results of analyses of taxonomic composition, geographical-historical and synecological groups, indices of anthropogenic changes of the flora, and degrees of hemeroby (i.e. human influence) at the studied habitats. The sites of fortified settlements and castles are centres of concentration and sources of dispersal of alien species. Aliens account for nearly 21% of the vascular flora of the study sites. Among them, a major role is played by archaeophytes (101 species). Some archaeological sites are characterized by a high contribution of so-called species of old deciduous forests (98 species). Despite many features in common, floras of archaeological sites vary significantly, depending on their geographical location, size, typology, and chronology of their origin. Historical sites occupied in the past by West Slavs differ in the current vascular flora from the sites occupied in the Middle Ages by East Slavs or Baltic tribes and from Teutonic castles. West Slavic archaeological sites are primarily refuges for 22 relics of cultivation. Considering the time of cultivation, 3 groups of relics were distinguished: (i) relics of medieval cultivation (plants cultivated till the late 15th century); (ii) relics of cultivation in the modern era (introduced into cultivation in the 16th century or later), and (iii) relics of medieval-modern cultivation. These species play a special role in research on the history of the flora of Central Europe and thus also of the world flora. Thus the best-preserved sites of medieval West Slavic settlements and castles should be protected as our both cultural and natural heritage. This work is a key contribution to geobotanical research on transformation of the vegetation associated with human activity. Considering the problem of relics of cultivation it corresponds also to basic ethnobotanical issues.
Genetic relationships between some of Malva species as determined with ISSR and ISJ markers
Two categories of DNA markers were used to determine genetic relationships among eight Malva taxa. A maximum parsimony analysis validated the division of the genus Malva into the sections Bismalva and Malva. The species classified into those sections formed separate clusters. M. moschata was a distinctive species in the section Bismalva, as confirmed by previous genetic research based on ITS and cpDNA sequence analyses. The applied markers revealed a very high level of genetic identity between M. alcea and M. excisa and enabled molecular identification of M. alcea var. fastigiata. Speciesspecific markers were determined for the majority of the analyzed species, permitting their molecular identification. A specific marker supporting the differentiation of M. alcea and M. excisa was not found.
The work presents the results of herbarium survey that resulted in finding Botrychium simplex E. Hitchc. – a new for the native Ukrainian flora species of the family Ophioglossaceae. A specimen of this taxon was found in the National Herbarium of Ukraine in the M. G. Kholodny Institute of Botany of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv (KW) among the specimens of Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw. originating from the surroundings of Kharkiv. Thus, this finding indicates the most south-eastern locality of B. simplex in Europe found so far.
Eight Hypericum species are native to Poland: H. elegans Stephan ex Willd., H. hirsutum L., H. humifusum L., H. maculatum Crantz, H. montanum L., H. perforatum L., H. pulchrum L., and H. tetrapterum Fr. Only seeds of H. elegans were investigated in detail in Poland before, so here we present results of qualitative and quantitative analyses of seed morphology of the other 7 species, based on characters like seed length, width, and shape, seed coat sculpture, shape of epidermal cells of the testa, and number of epidermal cells along the seed axis. The results show that seeds of the studied species are small, 0.56-1.15 mm long and 0.26-0.49 mm wide. In SEM images, seed coat sculpture is reticulate in 5 species, papillate in H. hirsutum, and cup-shaped in H. pulchrum. The differences are caused by the varied final development of the testa epidermis, which constitutes the outer layer of the seed coat. The mean number of epidermal cells along the seed axis ranges from 22 to 33. Results of cluster analysis, based on the agglomeration method and including also published data on seeds of H. elegans, show that the variation in the investigated characters of seeds is reflected in the taxonomic division of the genus into sections.
For 12 years, Biodiversity: Research and Conservation has been publishing scientific articles in the area of taxonomy, chorology, ecology and nature protection. In accordance with the journal’s profile adopted from the very beginning, the subject of publications are plants in the wide, traditional perspective of this group of organisms, as well as fungi and lichens. Over 12 years, 345 scientific articles were published in the journal’s pages. The frequency in individual sections is as follows: Variability, taxonomy and phylogeny – 95, Chorology – 92, Ecology – 79, Nature protection – 51, other topics – 28. The authors of these articles are 468 scientists from 28 countries. To ensure a high level of publications, the submitted works are send for review. To date, 171 scientists specializing in biological diversity research participated in the review process.
Biodiversity: Research and Conservation, published at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland), is open for the authors from the whole world and attracts a growing interest among researchers and readers. The data presented in this article show that this journal is read in a growing number of countries. It reaches readers mostly through its online version, but it is still published also in the traditional paper form, with the possibility of including colour photographs and figures.
Hypericum majus (A. Gray) Britton is an alien species for Europe. It originates from North America and, in recent years, has been spreading in Europe. Presently, this species is found in Germany, France, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Belarus. In Poland, it was noted for the first time in 2017 in western part of the country. Thus far, no detailed morphology and anatomy of H. majus seeds based on light and electron microscopy studies has been presented. Considering the fact that seeds provide important taxonomical information and the discussed species has not been investigated in this respect, in this research, an attempt was made to broaden the present knowledge.
Investigations were conducted based on samples originating from three localities in Central Europe (Poland). The obtained results showed that H. majus seeds are very small – about 0.5 mm in length. In the SEM image, their surface is reticulate, typical of majority of species in this genus. Anatomical analysis showed that seed coat of matured seeds is very delicate, composed of two cell layers with strongly lignified walls.
The paper considers current ranges, population dynamics, habitats, threats and conservation measures of Ophioglossaceae of the Ukrainian flora. Only one specimen of Botrychium simplex was discovered in herbarium at the begining of the 19th century. Taxonomical status of Ophioglossum azoricum in Ukraine needs additional studies. Other species of the family remain rare in Ukraine; there are only two reliable current localities of B. virginianum, and seven of B. matricariifolium. The number of B. multifidum, B. lunaria and Ophioglossum vulgatum localities have been decreasing since 1980 in comparison with the previous period, especially in the lowland part of the country. This tendency is accompanied by a very low stability of well-known populations – only some of them have been occurring from before 1980 up to modern times. Current conservation of Ophioglossaceae species in the protected areas is insufficient; it is necessary to create some new and enlarge some of the existing nature protection areas and include Botrychium simplex and Ophioglossum vulgatum in the Red Data Book of Ukraine.
The list of alien vascular plant species only temporarily occurring in Wielkopolska refers to the previously published list of native and permanently established plants. Together, these two lists document the vascular flora of this region at the beginning of the 21st century. The current list, like the previous one, is a result of critical analysis of both contemporary and historical data, collected since the beginning of the 19th century. All information accessible in herbarium collections, publications and unpublished materials was used. A critical analysis was conducted at the taxonomic, nomenclatural, chorological and habitat levels, based on the verification of negative information not supported by sufficient arguments. The list is presented in an alphabetical order. Information on each species includes: family affinity, life form, geographic and historic status. In cases particularly disputable, the standard characteristic of a species was supplemented with an additional commentary.