Pulsatilla vulgaris 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Ranunculales Ranunculaceae

Scientific Name: Pulsatilla vulgaris Mill.
Common Name(s):
English Pasque Flower
Anemone pulsatilla L.
Taxonomic Notes: Described as synonym of Anemone pulsatilla L. by The Plant List .

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-03-27
Assessor(s): Schweizer, F. & Hasinger, O.
Reviewer(s): Leaman, D.J. & Allen, D.J.
Over the last 100 years, the plant has severely suffered from habitat quality change and the population size has declined (Hensen et al. 2005). In the UK, pasture management has been identified as one of the major threats and principal cause of past population decline. Active habitat recovery and conservation programs have significantly increased the number of individuals over the past 50 years, while the number of subpopulations is still decreasing (Walker 2011). Part of the species distribution range is included in protected areas and recovery action plans at the species level are in place for the UK.

The estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) are both above the thresholds to qualify for any of the IUCN threatened categories under criterion B. There are insufficient data across its entire range to assess the species against criterion A. However, populations declines are considered likely to be close to meeting the threshold for a threatened category under criterion A and the stability of the population size and/or the recovery of the species is largely conservation dependent (pasture management), and the species is assessed as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is confined to dry grasslands throughout western and central Europe extending from southern Sweden to the Bordeaux region of France and as far as Poland in the east (Hensen et al. 2005, GBIF 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Austria; Belgium; Denmark; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Hungary; Norway; Poland; Romania; Slovakia; Sweden; Switzerland; United Kingdom (Great Britain)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:9996
Lower elevation limit (metres):110
Upper elevation limit (metres):580
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The current German range is characterized by a high level of fragmentation, since numbers and sizes of populations have declined considerably during the last few decades, mainly as a consequence of land-use changes (Hensen et al. 2005). In the UK, the total population decreased until 1960, although since then, whilst the number of sub-populations has continued to decline, the total number of individuals has increased (Walker 2011).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is a perennial rhizomatous herb of species-rich turf on the slopes of chalk or oolite escarpments, and the banks of ancient earthworks, usually with a S. or S.W. aspect (UK). Plants produce viable seed, but seedling establishment is rare. Lowland (Botanical Society of the British Isles and the Biological Records Centre 2014).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is unpalatable and poisonous to humans and animals due to the presence of the glycoside ranunculin in the leaves and roots which is converted to anemonine when the plant is dried (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit 2014, 2014). In the past, small doses were taken internally in the treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome, inflammations of the reproductive organs, tension headaches, neuralgia, insomnia, hyperactivity, bacterial skin infections, septicaemia, spasmodic coughs in asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. Externally, it was also used to treat eye conditions such as diseases of the retina, senile cataract and glaucoma (Plants for a Future 2014). In homeopathy, extracts are used to treat measles as well as minor complaints such as nettle rash, toothache, earache and bilious indigestion (Plants for a Future 2014, 2014).

Despite its toxicity, plant extracts are still produced and sold (on the internet) and might therefore still be used by experienced herbalists.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Pasture management and land-use changes have been identified as principal causes of population decline. In addition, the current range is characterized by a high level of fragmentation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed as Vulnerable in Ukraine, Slovakia (Witkowski et al. 2003), Sweden (VU A2ac; Gärdenfors 2010) and Great Britain (VU A2ac; Cheffings and Farrell 2005). Listed as Least Concern in Germany, however subspecies grandis (Wender.) Zamels listed as Critically Endangered and subspecies vulgaris listed as Endangered (Ludwig and Schnittler 1996). The species is also listed as Endangered in Switzerland (A4d; B1+B2ce; C2a; Moser et al. 2002) and as Critically Endangered in Austria (Niklfeld and Schratt-Ehrendorfer 1999).

In the UK, conservation plans have been put in place such as pasture management and tree felling to restore suitable habitats for the species (Cheffings and Farrell 2005).

Citation: Schweizer, F. & Hasinger, O. 2014. Pulsatilla vulgaris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T161913A50786112. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
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