This is the first review of existing knowledge on the Lamiaceae taxa of Greece, considering their distribution patterns and their linkage to the ecosystem services they may provide. Background and Objectives:
While nature-based solutions are sought in many fields, the Lamiaceae family is well-known as an important ecosystem services provider. In Greece, this family counts 111 endemic taxa and the aim of the present study is to summarize their known occurrences, properties and chemical composition and analyze the correlations between these characteristics. Materials and Methods:
After reviewing all available literature on the studied taxa, statistical and GIS spatial analyses were conducted. Results:
The known properties of the endemic Lamiaceae taxa refer mostly to medicinal and antimicrobial ones, but also concern nutritional and environmental aspects. Essential oils compositions with high concentrations in molecules of interest (e.g., carvacrol, caryphyllene oxide, etc.) have been found in some taxa, suggesting unexploited applications for these taxa. Distribution patterns show a higher concentration of endemic Lamiaceae on the island of Kriti and southern Peloponnisos; patterns of the endemics’ properties are also highlighted in the biodiversity hotspot of Kriti. However, the lack of data for two thirds of the taxa, regarding their properties or specific distribution, shows a gap of knowledge. Results on endemic Lamiaceae properties and composition are correlated with the supply or potential supply of ecosystem services and the relevant hotspots have been identified. Conclusions:
The Greek endemic Lamiaceae taxa are proved to be of great importance, regarding their chemical composition and the properties they confer. The distribution analysis suggests the existence of clustering patterns of plant species with common properties. Finally, this study highlights knowledge gaps that should be filled in order to ensure the conservation of the endemic Lamiaceae taxa and the preservation of the ecosystem services they provide or could potentially provide.
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