Friday 24 May
Daisy tree (Scalesia stewartii)
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Daisy tree fact file
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Daisy tree description
Having descended from a single daisy-like ancestor that colonised the Galapagos many millennia ago, the genus Scalesia is now one of the most significant plant groups in the archipelago (3) (4). Rivalling Darwin’s more famous finches for levels of diversity and endemism, Scalesia comprises 15 species of tree and shrub commonly known as daisy trees (3). Scalesia stewartii is a small tree or shrub that grows up to 3 metres tall and has alternate leaves with long, white hairs on the lower surface. The daisy-like flower-heads are made up of 35 to 90 white flowers (2).
- Also known as
- Max height: 3 m (2)
- The Charles Darwin Foundation:
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- The degree to which a species or taxonomic group is confined to a single region.
- IUCN Red List (October, 2008)
- McMullen, C.K. (1999) Flowering Plants of the Galapagos. Cornell University Press, New York.
- Charles Darwin Foundation. (2006) Charles Darwin Research Station Fact Sheet: Scalesia trees & shrubs. Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (AISBL), Galapagos, Ecuador. Available at:
- Tye, A. (2003) Plant research for conservation in Galapagos. Report for the years 1998–2003. Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, Galapagos, Ecuador.
- Colinvaux, P.A. (2007) Amazon Expeditions: My Quest for the Ice-Age Equator. Yale University Press, New Haven and London.
- Cruz, F., Carrión, V., Campbell, K., Lavoie, C. and Donlan, C.J. (2009) Bio-economics of large-scale eradication of feral goats from Santiago Island, Galápagos. Journal of Wildlife Management, 73: 191 - 200.
- Causton, C.E. (2005) Evaluating risks of introducing a predator to an area of conservation value: Rodolia cardinalis in Galapagos. 2nd International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods, 0: 64 - 76.
- Tye, A. (2009) Pers. comm.
- Charles Darwin Foundation (2009)
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Daisy tree biology
Very little is known about the biology of Scalesia stewartii, but, in common with other species in the genus, it has dandelion-like seeds dispersed by the wind (5).Top
Daisy tree rangeTop
Daisy tree habitatTop
Daisy tree status
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Daisy tree threats
Since humans arrived on the Galapagos, dramatic ecological changes have been caused by agricultural activities, exploitation of native species, and the introduction of non-native animals and plants (4). Consequently, many species of Scalesia are now under significant threat of extinction (3) (4). A study conducted in 2002 revealed that introduced goats and scale insects were having a serious effect on Scalesia stewartii (4). Although goats have now been eradicated from Santiago (6) and the scale insect has been brought under control by the introduction of a biological control agent (7), Scalesia stewartii is still regarded as Vulnerable given its highly restricted distribution (8).Top
Daisy tree conservation
Scientists at the Charles Darwin Research Station are involved in several projects to restore and preserve populations of Scalesia species, including those on Santiago Island (3). A project that began in 1997 culminated in the eradication of all goats, pigs and donkeys on Santiago Island by 2005 (3) (9). Since the removal of the goat population on Santiago Island, the native vegetation has made a remarkable recovery. Further restoration efforts are now underway that will help to re-establish natural ecological conditions on the island (9).Top
Find out more
For further information on the conservation of endemic flora and fauna of the Galapagos see:
Authenticated (17/04/09) by Dr. Alan Tye, Chair, IUCN-SSC Galapagos Plant Specialist Group.Top
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