Photo 1. Curry plant (Helischrysum italicum) (Photo by Nina Trinajstić)
WORKSHOP: Monitoring of the curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) in NATURA 2000 habitats
A curry plant monitoring workshop was organized at the Town Library of Zadar by the Croatian Agency for the Environment and Nature. Taking part in the workshop were the employees of public institutions in charge of managing protected areas. The heads of the workshop, Igor Boršić, PhD, and Tamara Kirin, PhD, informed us how the curry plant is commercially harvested and described the plant’s habitats and the inventory method. Their comprehensive lectures were followed by field work. In the field, the leaders of the workshop demonstrated the curry plant monitoring method and replied to our numerous questions.
The curry plant has a wide distribution range, and grows in rocky areas, and on poor sandy soils and the shallow soils of deserted farmland. It prefers a lot of sunlight, which gives it its aromatic properties. Because of the large commercial interest in these aromatic properties, there has been mounting pressure on the plant’s habitats. To prevent the excessive exploitation of natural populations, a harvest season has been set (from 15 June to 15 August) during which time the harvesting of fresh curry plants is allowed. Harvesting is allowed only providing that at least 30% to 50% of the curry plant bushes at the harvesting site are in full bloom. Only the aerial parts of the plants may be harvested, using an ordinary pair of scissors; the use of mechanical or other devices is prohibited. It is allowed to harvest two-thirds, at the very most, of each bush that is in full bloom.
Curry plant harvesting is absolutely prohibited in national parks and in strict and special nature reserves, while in all other protected areas harvesting is allowed only with the permission of the public institution in charge of managing a given protected area. The harvesting of curry plants in commercial purposes is prohibited on the islands of Krk, Rab, Cres, Lošinj and Pag. This prohibition seeks to preserve valuable NATURA 2000 habitats because entire habitats on these islands have been destroyed as a result of improper harvesting practices.