Cities and Disturbed Areas as Man-made Shelters for Orchid Communities
Many species from the family Orchidaceae spread in anthropogenic habitats and numerous studies documenting this process are known. Unfortunately, such data are scattered throughout various papers and reports, sometimes fragmentary and hard to reach (the ‘grey literature’). Scientific elaboration on this topic still lacks a comprehensive review and summary of the scale of this phenomenon. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to gather, review and analyse such data, seeking the answer to the question whether the man-made habitats can be considered as refugee for orchids. The paper summarises data on the occurrence of orchid species in man-made habitats in Europe originating from published and unpublished sources. The particular emphasis was placed in urban habitats. For this purpose, the floristically data from 42 European cities were used. The conducted studies showed that the apohytism phenomenon in the family Orchidaceae was more widespread than had been previously reported. As a result, 70 species of orchids in the distinguished man-made habitats were found. The majority of the species grow on sand and clay pits. The most common species were Epipactis helleborine and Dactylorhiza majalis. The gathered data have confirmed that man-made habitats become refugee for many orchid species in the aftermath of the loss of their natural habitats. Thus, protection of sites transformed by man with orchid occurrence should be taken into consideration. These sites can become a source of very useful information for biogeographically and phylo-geographically analyses of many valuable and endangered species.
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