Characterising wildflowers in olive orchards to enhance biological control

Ecological infrastructures play a crucial role in conservation biological control due to the arthropod communities they support. By manipulating the habitat, we can enhance the presence of beneficial insects in olive agroecosystems. To do this, it is essential to know the diversity and abundance of plant species that are well-suited to the region’s soil and climate conditions.
We have identified and characterised the plant species found in the spontaneous ground cover and the field margins in traditional olive farms located in the south ofCatalonia (Spain) during spring, summer, and autumn. We identified the plant species present, their abundance and their phenological stage.
We found a similar number of species in both the ground cover (157 species from 41 families) and the margins (155 species from 37 families). Biodiversity, was similar in both areas. Depending on the season, the highest biodiversity was found in spring and the lowest in summer.
The dominant flowering species in the ground cover were Torilis arvensis and Pallenis spinosa in spring and summer; Scabiosa atropurpurea in summer; Bidens subalternans in autumn; and Lobularia maritima and Sonchus tenerrimus in spring and autumn. In the margins, the dominant flowering species were S. tenerrimus throughout the period, P. spinosa in spring, T. arvensis in spring and summer, Euphorbia segetalis L. in summer and autumn, and L. maritima in autumn.