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Rhododendron ferrugineum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA ERICALES ERICACEAE

Scientific Name: Rhododendron ferrugineum
Species Authority: L.
Common Name(s):
English Alpine Rose, Rhododendron, Rusty-leaved Alpenrose

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-04-09
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.

Geographic Range [top]

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.
Countries:
Native:
Andorra; Austria; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Spain (Spain (mainland)); Switzerland
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

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

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The flowers, leaves and galls of Rhododendron ferrugineum are antirheumatic, diaphoretic and diuretic; it is used in the treatment of certain forms of arthritis and rheumatism, as well as in treating a variety of complaints involving flatulence, but can cause diarrhoea and vomiting so should only be used with expert supervision (Plants for a Future 2012). A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. The leaves and flowers contain flavanoids (Chosson et al. 1998). However, the leaves and the galls are poisonous, and the pollen of many (if not all) species of Rhododendron is also likely to be toxic when eaten in large quantities (Plants for a Future 2012).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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.

Conservation Actions [top]

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).

Citation: Khela, S. 2013. Rhododendron ferrugineum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 July 2014.
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