Flora to protect in the Pontine Islands - Tyrrhenian broom

Flora to protect in the Pontine Islands - Tyrrhenian broom

27 January 2020

Tyrrhenian broom (Genista tyrrhena) is a shrub of the Fabaceae (legume) family, which grows up to 2.50 m tall. This species has yellow flowers, trifoliate leaves and hairy pods.

The species was once known as Genista ephedroides, but later resulted to include a group of Mediterranean species, which share same origin but differentiated because of geographic separation.

Genista tyrrhena is endemic to Italy and is present on the Aeolian islands (Sicily) with the subspecies tyrrhena and on the Pontine islands (Lazio) with the subspecies pontiana.

Genista tyrrhena subsp. pontiana dominates wide formations of Mediterranean maquis in Ponza, Gavi and Palmarola, whereas is present with few individuals in Zannone. Its abundance on the Pontine islands is probably due to the rapid development in abandoned areas and the good recovery conditions after fire, a quite common management practice in the past. The Tyrrhenian broom fields represent one of the first stages in the natural dynamics of the Mediterranean maquis on the islands. They would naturally evolve into a maquis type richer in evergreen species and, finally, in the evergreen holm oak forest.

Genista tyrrhena Vals. subsp. pontiana Brullo et De Marco