Silene cobalticola is a perennial plant growing from a woody taproot. It produces one or more branched stems up to 1 metre long[
This plant is not utilized, but it has potential for use in phytostabilization, phytoremediation, and phytomining projects.
Silene cobalticola is strictly endemic to copper-rich soil in Katanga, DRC. Its habitat is restricted to steppic savannah in cobalt and copper outcrops, which are being destroyed by mining activities, particularly by extraction surface mining. The plant is classified as 'Critically Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2014)[
Tropical Africa - southern DR Congo
Steppe savannah, growing in copper outcrops, possibly also in substrate (often mine debris) disturbed by the mining industry[
]. Brushwood; mine excavated material; cobalt quarry[
|Conservation Status||Critically Endangered
|Other Uses Rating||
Silene cobalticola is found at elevations around 1,300 metres in Kantanga in southern DR Congo. The climate is humid subtropical, being tempered by the relatively high elevation. Mean annual rainfall is around 1,300mm, more than 90% of which falls in a four month rainy season. The mean annual temperature is about 20°c, being lowest at the beginning of the dry season (15 - 17°c), and highest at the end of the dry season, with a daily maxima of about
31 - 33°c.
Silene cobalticola is an absolute metallophyte, needing to grow in soils with high concentrations of copper[
]. It requires a sunny position[
Silene cobalticola is a hyperaccumulator of copper, and is only found growing in soils that are rich in this metal. It is able to accumulate up to 1,660 µg/g dry weight[
]. The plant is not currently utilized, but it has the potential to be exploited in environmental technologies such as phytostabilization and phytoremediation of polluted soils, and also phytomining, as an environmentally friendly method of extracting copper from the ground[
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