Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland (Alps and Pyrenees)
Small shrub with erect or ascending branches, to 1.5 m. Young growth densely lepidote, sometimes with a few loriform hairs. Leaves narrowly elliptic to elliptic, acute or mucronate at the apex, 28-40 x 8—16 mm, slightly revolute, dark shining green above, ferrugineous beneath with dense overlapping scales. Inflorescence many-flowered, the rachis 10-20 mm, filiform-acicular pubescent, pedicels rather strict, densely lepidote. Calyx small, 5-lobed, lobes up to 1-5 mm, lepidote and loriform-ciliate. Corolla 12-15(-17) mm, tube 6-9(-10) mm, deep pink, rarely pale pink or white, lepidote and usually filiform-acicular pubescent outside. Stamens 10, filaments pubescent towards the base. Ovary 5-locular, lepidote, style glabrous, up to 2 x longer than the ovary. Capsule sparsely lepidote, ± oblong, 5-7 mm.
Habitat and Ecology
Mountain slopes, open woodland and scrub.
Foodplant / parasite
mostly hypophyllous telium of Chrysomyxa ledi var. rhododendri parasitises live leaf of Rhododendron ferrugineum
Foodplant / gall
fruitbody of Exobasidium rhododendri causes gall of live leaf of Rhododendron ferrugineum
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Rhododendron ferrugineum
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rhododendron ferrugineum
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
EU 27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
Rhododendron ferrugineum is an abundant species in montane areas of the Alps and Pyrenees. This species is classified as Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, stable populations and no major threats.
Rhododendron ferrugineum (sometimes called alpenrose, snow-rose, or rusty-leaved alpenrose) is an evergreen shrub that grows just above the tree line in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and northern Apennines, on acid soils. It is the type species for the Rhododendron genus. It may grow up to 1 m tall and produces clusters of pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers throughout the summer. The undersides of the leaves are covered in rust-brown spots, which give the species its scientific name. This is in contrast to Rhododendron hirsutum, which has no such brown colouring, has hairy edges to the leaves and grows over limestone. Where the two species co-occur (usually on soils of intermediate pH), the hybrid Rhododendron × intermedium may occur; as its name suggests, it is intermediate in form between the two parental species.
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