Colino majorero, the cabbage that hid in the cliffs
Colino majorero, the cabbage that hid in the cliffs

Colino majorero, the cabbage that hid in the cliffs

One of the most threatened plants in the world is also one of the most unknown. At first sight the majorero colino (Crambe sventenii) is what it seems, a woody cabbage, not especially pretty, with small white flowers and very rough leaves. But when they tell you that it is critically threatened, there are scarcely 400 adult specimens scattered in six localities of Fuerteventura, and that three quarters of this rickety population are sheltered on inaccessible cliffs of the Natural Monument of the Knives of Vigán, in the vicinity of our Verdeaurora farm, you automatically start to see it more beautiful. Beautifully beautiful

It blooms from now until June, but all its efforts to perpetuate itself are useless. Goats, sheep and rabbits are their most terrible enemies. As soon as a seed begins to germinate outside the platforms, all the buds are eaten by those animals with greedy enjoyment. There is no escape. Beyond the open cracks in the more vertical rocks the plant has no future.

In the last 20 years, despite having all the protections and conservation plans, the good intentions of the Administration have not gone beyond printed paper. And the number of live specimens, far from growing, has gone down. At the same time, livestock pressure in these mountains has increased, as must climate change, with its high temperatures and harsh droughts.

Avoiding their increasingly near extinction would not be a problem. It is only necessary to reduce the cattle pressure, the number of those hungry coastal goats that wander in a semi-wild state through the mountains. It is necessary to close areas to livestock, create botanical micro reserves, protect with effective fencing the last populations and undertake planting programs in new spaces that allow recolonization.

Because if left, the majorero colino easily grows anywhere. Its seeds have an amazing dispersal capacity. And they can be an ideal species to plant in roundabouts and gardens of Fuerteventura because they do not need irrigation. They are experts in living without water. But yes, as soon as they see a goat nearby they start to tremble.

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