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A biodiversity project looks for new species of wild plants in the city of Madrid

The Botanical Unit of the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) coordinates a project of biodiversity who will walk through streets, parks and peri-urban areas of the capital Madrid to identify wild plants that, despite the strong urbanization of the city, manage to live.

The project, framed within the Master Plan for the Promotion and Management of Biodiversity in the Green Infrastructure of Madrid City Council, is in the early stages of development and will last until 2022. Among the first results, two new species have already been identified in the city.

The small boy (Centaurea pullata), a plant that was only mentioned on one occasion in the surroundings of Aranjuez, has been found in the olive groves of the Juan Carlos I park. Another unique case is that of the painted peas (Lathyrus clymenum), registered in Madrid in 1861, which had not been cited again until 140 years later, and have been found on various sites in the Hortaleza district.

The painted peas, registered in Madrid in 1861, which had not been cited again until 140 years later, have been found in various lots in the Hortaleza district

“These botanical excursions have only just begun, so it is difficult to know how many more novelties will be produced in the field of flora in the city of Madrid. The project coordinated by the Complutense will ultimately offer an unbeatable tool for managing the biodiversity of the city of Madrid ”, points out Iñaki Mola, a botanist hired to develop the project.

An illustrated book for nature lovers

A dozen botanists from Madrid, some from the UCM, others from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the European University of Madrid, participate in the project.
The objective is “to show the importance of wild plants in the culture of the city,” he points out. Felipe Dominguez Lozano, researcher at the Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution of the UCM.

In addition, the City Council of the capital plans to prepare a picture book with all Madrid species, as well as an online database. “With confinement as a sanitary measure, many people have discovered that nature lives very close to their homes. The city, and not only the countryside, is a source of satisfaction for lovers of nature and specifically of wild plants ”, concludes Domínguez Lozano.

Part of the project botanists’ team conducting an inventory of wild plants in the Moratalaz neighborhood. / Felipe Domínguez Lozano

Rights: Creative Commons.

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