Eryngium alpinum 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Apiales Apiaceae

Scientific Name: Eryngium alpinum L.
Common Name(s):
French Panicaut des Alpes

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-06-24
Assessor(s): Gygax, A., Bernhardt, K.G., Jogan, N., Montagnani, C. & Gigot, G.
Reviewer(s): Bilz, M. & Lutz, M.L.
Contributor(s): Juillet, N.
European regional assessment: Near Threatened (NT)
EU 27 regional assessment: Near Threatened (NT)

The area of occupancy (AOO) is potentially smaller than 2,000 km² and there is a decline in the number of mature individuals, the quality of its habitat and the extent of the area of occupancy. The populations are fragmented in parts of their range and face different threats such as land abandonment, collection, recreational activities, and grazing. The species is included in protected areas throughout its range. It is assessed as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Eryngium alpinum is native to Austria, Liechtenstein, Croatia, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Slovenia (Euro+Med Plantbase 2006-2010). Easily recognizable and remarkable for its intense blue colour, the plant is emblematic of the alpine flora (Gaudel et al. 2000). The plant is cultivated and has been observed to escape from gardens.

In France, it is found in two regions: Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur. It occurs at 42 localities which equal 38 locations. In Austria, it extends from Voralberg to Liechtenstein and from Kärnten to Slovenia. In Switzerland, the AOO is 74 km², but it is not clear whether it is introduced or native. There are a few small subpopulations scattered in the Alps in Slovenia and some are locally extinct. In Italy, there have also been local extinctions and the plant is now found in eight localities.

The AOO might be less than 2,000 km², but there is not enough supporting data for this assumption.
Countries occurrence:
Austria; Croatia; France (France (mainland)); Italy (Italy (mainland)); Liechtenstein; Slovenia
Present - origin uncertain:
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):1500
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population of this species has been declining over the last decade and are fragmented in parts of its range.

There is little information on subpopulations in the different countries (Commission of the European Communities 2009):

In Austria, 1,000 to 2,000 individuals have been counted with a declining trend. The subpopulations are also declining in Italy and in Slovenia, and both countries reported local extinctions. In France, there are several thousand individuals (5,000 estimated in Fournel population) with a declining trend. The populations in Switzerland are stable but this is due to introductions.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Eryngium alpinum is found in open habitats such as avalanche corridors or hayfields at altitudes between 1,500 m and 2,000 m asl (Gaudel et al. 2000). It grows mostly on limestone. Eryngium alpinum prefer moist or even wet conditions, mostly in tall herb communities on more or less well-watered ground and well-supplied with nutrients (Wörz 2006).

  • 4070 Bushes with Pinus mugo and Rhododendron hirsutum (Mugo-Rhododendretum hirsuti)
  • 4080 Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub
  • 6170 Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands
  • 6230 Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)
  • 6430 Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  • 6520 Mountain hay meadows


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is collected for ornamental purposes in the wild, but is also cultivated.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threats are abandonment of alpine pastures and traditional land use which causes habitat closure. Collection for ornamental purposes and collecting of the seeds leads to population declines. Recreational activities such as skiing are degrading its habitat. Spring grazing could impact on the reproductive success.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Eryngium alpinum is listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive and under Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention).

In France, it is listed on the national list of protected plant species and several localities are in national parks of Vanoise, Mercantour, Ecrins, nature reserves, protected areas, and Natura 2000 sites. In Slovenia, it is protected. The Italian subpopulations are partially included in protected areas and the plant is classed as Vulnerable on the national Red List. In Austria and Switzerland, it is classed Vulnerable in the national Red Lists and protected.

Ex situ
collection of the seeds is taking place in Austria and Italy. The management of pastures and control of wild collections are recommended.

Citation: Gygax, A., Bernhardt, K.G., Jogan, N., Montagnani, C. & Gigot, G. 2011. Eryngium alpinum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T162328A5574460. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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