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Animals, plants and fungi

Conservation status of Jurinea cyanoides in Germany

Population of Jurinea cyanoides recovering well compared with other ferns and flowering plants

The thistle Jurinea cyanoides is an example of successful active nature conservation in Germany. Its conservation status significantly improved between 2007 and 2013 – in contrast with many other ferns and flowering plants. Further conservation measures remain necessary, however.


An example of successful nature conservation is Jurinea cyanoides, a thistle-like species that is strictly protected under European law and listed in Annex IV of the Habitats Directive. According to the 2013 Habitats Directive report, the conservation status of the species improved relative to the 2007 Habitats Directive report by one assessment grade throughout its entire range. The overall trend is now positive, meaning that a favourable prognosis can be assumed.

The distribution of Jurinea cyanoides in Western Europe is limited to small, isolated areas far from the western boundary of its main distribution range in Russia. In Germany, there are several isolated populations (for example on the Rhine and the Elbe), in some cases with only a small number of individuals. Jurinea cyanoides grows as a pioneer species on open sandy ground poor in nutrients.

Management measures aid conservation of Jurinea cyanoides

Active nature conservation measures have significantly improved the conditions for Jurinea cyanoides in many places where it is found. Active management measures beat back the woody vegetation taking hold after the abandonment of farming. Numbers are boosted by spreading seed from propagation cultures seeded from plants found in Germany. The species has also been successfully reintroduced at locations where it was found in the past but had since died out. A number of mostly small populations in the Continental region continue to be endangered, however, and conservation measures in these locations need to be stepped up.

Conservation status of other ferns and flowering plants unchanged

The population of Jurinea cyanoides is developing well compared with other ferns and flowering plants. The conservation status of other ferns and flowering plants has mainly remained unchanged; for one species (Parnassus-leaved water plantain, Caldesia parnassifolia) it has deteriorated. Overall, the conservation status of species in the Alpine region is better than that of species of the Continental and Atlantic region.

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