The finding took place during the Villenaplant event by one of the participants, Francisco Gisbert, who took a picture of a Calicotome villosa specimen and now it will be published by the journal Botánica Flora Montibérica.
Villenaplant is an event organised by the Villena University Venue and the University of Alicante Botany and Plant Conservation research group (BotCoVe), which has resulted in a surprising discovery: a population of Calicotome villosa (also known as spiny broom), an uncatalogued plant in the region of Valencia.
Throughout the month of May, the event encouraged citizens to share the photographs of the plants they saw on their walks. The surprising finding came from Francisco Gisbert Tomás, from Villena, when he sent some photos of a plant that had not been mentioned in the region of Valencia until now. These photos, along with the plant collected and a subsequent visit to the place where it was found, resulted in the confirmation of this outstanding discovery in Valencian territory. This fact has already been published in the journal Botánica Flora Montibérica, as explained by Mª Ángeles Alonso, director of the Villena University facilities and lecturer of the UA Department of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources.
Alonso points out that Villenaplant has become an example of popular science transfer.
Calicotome villosa is a plant whose populations, in the Iberian Peninsula, are restricted to the southwestern area, ranging from central Portugal (Alto Alentejo and Extremadura) to eastern Andalusia (Cadiz, Granada, Huelva, Malaga and Seville), with the populations of Granada being the closest to this new population of Villena, with a distance of over 300 km. The specimen found in Villena is located in the Loma de las Albarizas and has two large reproductive individuals. The finding considerably extends both the chorological area and the ecological behaviour of this species.
Mª Ángeles Alonso explained that the crisis of the COVID-19 had kept us in an unforeseen confinement, and institutions such as the University of Alicante’s facilities have managed to replace its onsite activities by different ones in order to keep their cultural and training programme. In this sense, technology has played a relevant role, to keep quality initiatives active. In this context, the Villena University facility launched an event called Villenaplant through Facebook, an activity to take advantage of the first de-escalation stage with a combination of photography and botany.