Get to know the Species

Cheirolophus uliginosus

Classified as “near threatened” in Portugal, Cheirolophus uliginosus is a unique species from the Iberian Peninsula and can be found close to coastal areas.

It is rare to have the opportunity to observe Cheirolophus uliginosus, an uncommon herbaceous plant with no common name, which is unique (endemic) in the Iberian Peninsula and which is classified as “Near Threatened” on the Red List of Vascular Flora of Portugal.

Although infrequent, when we are dealing with an adult specimen of Cheirolophus uliginosus , it may not go unnoticed, because it can be taller than a human being: its stem can rise to two and a half meters. Another of the most distinctive elements of this plant is its distinctive pink flower. This vibrant colour stands out between April and August, when flowering plants have been observed in Portugal.

In Spain, where it is an even rarer species, Cheirolophus uliginosus is classified in the Libro Rojo de la Flora Vascular Española (the Red Book on Spanish Vascular Flora) as “critically endangered”. Even so, some nuclei of the species can be observed in the south-west of the country, namely, in the province of Huelva.

In mainland Portugal, where a slightly higher number of populations is known, Cheirolophus uliginosus is dispersed in almost all regions of the coast, mainly along the riverbanks, around the edges of woods, or wet meadows. Also in 2021, a small nucleus of this plant, hitherto unknown, was found in Parque das Serras do Porto. With this discovery, five nuclei have now been identified in the Coastal Douro region (Vila do Conde, Matosinhos and Vila Nova de Gaia were the areas where they were already known).

Among the main threats to the preservation of the species is the deterioration of its habitat, due to the increase in human activities, such as the construction that goes on along the coast. The intensive use of land for other purposes (leisure and agriculture) and water pollution are also factors that have contributed to the destruction of the environments where they live.


Did you know that…

  • Although the flowers on Cheirolophus uliginosus are pink, an albino specimen of this herbaceous plant was observed in Portugal, near Óbidos Lagoon. Considered a rarity, this plant was mentioned in the book “Sites of Botanical Interest in Mainland Portugal”.
  • Cheirolophus uliginosus is one of the 25 species of the genus Cheirolophus that are distributed across the Western Mediterranean Region (up to Malta) and Macaronesia. In Portugal, one other can be identified: Cheirolophus sempervirens.
  • The scientific name Cheirolophus uliginosus was given to it by the Czech botanist and professor Josef Dostál, the first to report it in 1976. Until then, this species had another name: Centaurea uliginosa.
  • Cheirolophus is one of the many genera of the Asteraceae family, which also includes daisies, dahlias, and thistles. In this family, what appears to us as a single flower is actually a set of flowers (an inflorescence), with countless very small flowers. Many of the species have fruits with the ability to disperse in the wind, much like the dandelion.

  • Genus:


  • Family:


  • Conservation state:

    Nearly threatened in Portugal, according to the Red List of the Vascular Flora of Portugal.

  • Habitats:

    Bushes near moisture, in waterlogged peaty or sandy soils.

  • Distribution:

    It is an endemic species of the Iberian Peninsula. In Portugal, it can be observed along almost the entire Atlantic coastline and in the Tagus and Sado estuaries.

  • Height/length:

    Up to 2.5 m.

How we care for Cheirolophus uliginosus

In the areas managed by Navigator, monitoring of natural values is carried out regularly by sampling, identifying habitats, and monitoring their conservation status and that of their species. It was during these activities that the nucleus of Cheirolophus uliginosus was discovered in Parque das Serras do Porto.

The identification was made in October 2021, by a team from Floradata , a company specialized in biodiversity, environment, and natural resources that carried out this project in one of the forest areas managed by Navigator; the company manages around 1500 hectares in this Protected Landscape.

This was the first time that Cheirolophus uliginosus was found in an area managed by Navigator, thus joining the approximately 800 species and subspecies of flora already identified in areas where the company is active. After the discovery, the teams that carry out forestry operations in the field got to know where this nucleus is located, so that they do not develop activities that disturb it.