Kunkeliella psilotoclada   ((Svent.) Stearn)


 
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Masca Brush Bush
(Kunkeliella psilotoclada)

 
syn. Thesium psilotocladum (Svent.)

 
distribution:

Spain: Teneriffa / Canary Islands

 
local name:

Escobilla (Spanish)
Escobilla de Masca (Spanish)

 
size: ca. 1 m (heigth)

extinction date: last seen in 1983

 
The Masca Brush Bush is one of four species from the genus Kunkeliella, which occurs endemic on the Canary Islands. These are shaggy, leafless, broom-like semi-parasites, which contain chlorophyll and which conduct photosynthesis, but which on the other hand 'tap' the roots of other plants.

The Masca Brush Bush is now considered extinct, as the last specimen was seen in the year 1983. The main reasons for its extinction are found in the uncontrolled grazing by introduced rabbits and goats.

The other three species of the genus, the Gran Canaria Brush Bush (Kunkeliella canariensis (Stearn)) from the island of Gran Canaria as well as the Rue Brush Bush (Kunkeliella retamoides (Santos)) and the Fleshy Brush Bush (Kunkeliella subsucculenta (Kämmer)) from Teneriffa are also extremely threatened.

 
References:

- Peter und Ingrid Schönfelder: Die Kosmos Kanarenflora. Franckh-Kosmos-Verlag Stuttgart, 1997