Overview

Comprehensive Description

Distribution

 

Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland (Alps and Pyrenees)

 
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Distribution

Range Description

Rhododendron ferrugineum is endemic to the Mediterranean and west-central Europe at elevations between 1,600-2,200 metres, predominantly in the Alps and the Pyrenees (Valdés 2009, Gibbs et al. 2011). Its presence and distribution in Croatia, Albania, Serbia and Slovenia requires confirmation.
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

 

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.

 
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This is an Alpine perennial shrub found throughout montane areas in acidic soils associated with pine. In the past decades the northern Alps have been subject to a decrease in disturbance from pasture which has caused Rhododendron ferrugineum to flourish. It can reproduce sexually by selfing and out crossed seeds or vegetatively through layering, which usually occurs downslope at 50 or 60 years of age. Heavy snow cover allows branches to root in the ground. It also produces many flowers and seeds (Castroviejo et al. 1993, Escaravage et al. 1998).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Mountain slopes, open woodland and scrub.

 
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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
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

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Rhododendron ferrugineum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rhododendron ferrugineum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Khela, S.

Reviewer/s
Leaman, D.J., Miller, R.M. & Oldfield, S.

Contributor/s
Turonova, D.

Justification
Global and European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
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.
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Population

Population
There are dense subpopulations in the European Alps with almost 100% cover. The oldest individual in the French Alps is at least 300 years old, based on mean annual shoot growth. It is a dominant species in montane areas and one of the most abundant shrubs in northeastern Spain. There are concerns of a decrease in genetic variation in Italy, as some subpopulations have a lower genetic diversity through clones (Escaravage et al. 1998, Filella and Peñuelas 1999).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Grazing and pasture could cause a decline in this species, though in recent decades this pressure has been reduced in the northern Alps, favouring this species. As with all high alpine plant species, climate change could be a threat in the future.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Rhododendron ferrugineum is listed as Least Concern in Germany (Bundesamt für Naturschutz 2012) and Switzerland (Moser et al. 2002), and also on the Red List of Rhododendrons (Gibbs et al. 2011). In situ and ex situ conservation strategies have been suggested to preserve the genetic diversity in the North Apennines (Bruni et al. 2012). It is found in forty-two Natura 2000 sites in Italy (European Environment Agency 2010).
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Wikipedia

Rhododendron ferrugineum

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 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.

R. ferrugineum is moderately toxic, containing arbutin, aricoline and rhodoxanthine, and can cause vomiting, and difficulties of the digestive, nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems.[1]

References[edit]

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