Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Picea retroflexa
Species Authority: Mast.
Common Name(s):
English Tapao Shan spruce
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes: In the Flora of China, Vol. 4: 28 (1999) this species has been made a synonym of P. asperata var. asperata, while other (Chinese) works (e.g. Ying et al. 2004; Farjon 1990, 1998, 2001) have maintained the species rank, or included it as a variety of P. aurantiaca (Flora of Sichuan). A re-examination of relevant collections and populations seems desirable; this should include work on DNA sequences. Work to confirm the taxonomy is needed, as literature references are sometimes confused with related (and unrelated) taxa.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-15
Assessor(s): Zhang, D, Li, N., Katsuki, T. & Rushforth, K.
Reviewer(s): Farjon, A. & Thomas, P.
The available evidence supports a considerable past decline (50-70%) in Picea retroflexa's population although the situation is currently stable (three generations is 150 years). The species meets the criteria for listing as Endangered under criterion A2 based on the available evidence.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1998 Vulnerable (VU)
1998 Rare (R)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to China where it occurs in W Sichuan, Kangding , Jiuzhaigou (Zheduo Shan); Qinghai; and Ban Ma Xian.
Countries occurrence:
China (Qinghai, Sichuan)
Lower elevation limit (metres): 3000
Upper elevation limit (metres): 4700
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The subpopulation near Jiuzhaigou has an estimated 450 trees; sizes of other subpopulations are unknown.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Picea retroflexa is a typical subalpine species, which occurs between 3,000 m and 4,000 m a.s.l. (to 4,700 m east of Dawu, Schmidt-Vogt 1977), mainly on north-facing slopes on acidic soils. The climate is continental alpine with low annual precipitation. At the highest elevations it grows either pure or mixed with Abies squamata, but at lower elevations Picea likiangensis var. rubescens, P. aurantiaca, Abies chensiensis and Tsuga chinensis may occur with it. Betula albosinensis is the only common broad-leaved tree species in these forests.
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 50

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Although no uses are specifically reported of this species, its timber has been exploited together with that of other species in the area and put to the same uses. This spruce was introduced to Europe and the USA by Ernest Wilson and is still present in several arboreta, often identified as P. asperata.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Intensive unsustainable logging of montane and subalpine forests during the period from 1950 to 1990 (Ryavec and Winkler 2006), coupled with the limited range of this taxon has led to a significant recent decline that is estimated to be more than 50%. An ongoing decline is suspected due to fires and grazing preventing natural regeneration and hampering afforestation efforts.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Government of China has recently imposed a ban on logging in western China. One subpopulation is within Jiuzhaigou Valley Nature Reserve

Citation: Zhang, D, Li, N., Katsuki, T. & Rushforth, K. 2013. Picea retroflexa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T34178A2849383. . Downloaded on 08 October 2015.
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