Calendula maritima Guss. (common name: Sea Marigold) is an annual/perennial herb plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. It is a rare endemic species of western Sicily, growing exclusively on the coast between Marsala and Monte Cofano, in the province of Trapani.
Calendula maritima plays a key role in the functioning of various coastal ecosystems, of which it also determines the physiognomy.
Adapted to different habitats, it is found both in rocky contexts with very primitive and shallow soils, and within different community of dunes vegetation. It has a strong tolerance to water and edaphic stress and a considerable resilience to anthropic disturbance. Thanks to this plasticity, the species participates to nitrophilous and ruderal communities, affected by a significant and continuous supply of organic nutrients (remains of marine phanerogams and macroalgae deposited by the sea, dejections and food waste in the vicinity of seabird colonies, etc.), contributing to the overall biodiversity of coastal ecosystems.
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