site.btaNew Protected Area in Eastern Rhodopes Focuses on Endemic Velvet Plant
A new protected area focused on a local and Balkan endemic plant species, the Rhodope mullein (Verbascum spathulisepalum), has been declared by order of the Minister of Environment and Water, the Haskovo Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water said on its website.
The new protected area of over 8 ha for what is also known as the velvet plant is located in the vicinity of Drangovo village, in the southern Kardzhali region.
The ministerial order was issued in mid-June on a motion of the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystems with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and has now been gazetted. The order aims to protect one of the rarest plant species in Bulgaria's flora, the velvet plant, as well as other important Bulgarian endemic species, including the recently discovered Aethionema rhodopaeum and Silene fetlerii subshrubs, the Thymus jalasianus new thyme species and the endemic for the Balkans Saponaria stranjensis.
The new protected area will contribute to the preservation of the velvet plant, found only in the Eastern Rhodopes in Bulgaria and in several locations in neighbouring Greece, the Inspectorate said. With it, the number of protected territories in Haskovo and Kardzhali regions will reach a hundred.