Thyme-brushwood communities ("tomillares") of semiarid South-eastern Spain
Alcaraz, Francisco; Delgado, María José
The small brushwoods ("tomillares") of the semiarid zones of SE Spain, dominated by suffruticose chamephytes and nanophanerophytes, are very rich in endemic and Iberian-Mauritanian plants which are only found in this part of the European continent. These plant communities, which constitute a particular phytosociological order (Anthyllidetalia terniflorae), were studied by carrying out 165 relevés and by reference to another 141 from the literature. One synthetic table was made up and our 165 relevés were submitted to multivariate analysis (CA). Three alliances were recognized within the order: Thymo moroderi-Sideritidion leucanthae (11 associations), Sideritidion bourgeanae (3 associations and 1 plant community) and Anthyllido terniflorae-Salsolion papillosae (4 associations). The alliance Thymomoroderi-Sideritidion leucanthae includes thyme-brushwoods of the Almeriense and Alicantine-Murcian (Meridional-Murcian and Alicantine subsectors) sectors, present on loamy, rocky and sandy soils, mainly from the Inframediterranean Semiarid to the Thermomediterranean Dry belts. The alliance Anthyllido-Salsolion papillosae includes thyme-brushwoods of subsaline marly soils and coastal zones affected by salt rain due to sea breeze. These plant communities are present at the Inframediterranean Semiarid and Thermomediterranean Semiarid belts of the Murcian-Almeriense biogeographical province. The alliance Sideritidion bourgeanae includes thyme-brushwoods on loamy and marly soils, at the Mesomediterranean Semiarid and Mesomediterranean Dry bioclimatic belts. These plant communities are present in the Murcian-Almeriense province (just at the Septentrional-Murcian subsector) and in the Murcian-Manchegan subsector (Castilian -Maestracense-Manchegan province).