Alchemilla (Alchemilla fischeri camerunensis)

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Alchemilla fischerii subsp. camerunensis whole plant
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Alchemilla fact file

Alchemilla description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderRosales
FamilyRosaceae
GenusAlchemilla (1)

This small silvery herb is a subspecies of Alchemilla fischeri, and is only known from the summit of a single mountain. The leaf blades have 7 - 9 lobes and are covered with a thick layer of silvery hairs, which feel velvety to the touch (2). Plants are found growing together in a continuous silvery carpet that is around 5 x 20 - 30 metres in area (3).

Size
Stolon length: over 50 cm (2)
Main stem height: up to 25 cm (2)
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Alchemilla biology

It is thought that vegetative reproduction, from stems growing horizontally along the ground (known as stolons), may be more important in this species than sexual reproduction via seeds (3).

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Alchemilla range

Found on the summit of Mount Oku in Cameroon, West Africa (1).

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Alchemilla habitat

Inhabits rocky grassland and scrub at around 2,800 - 3,000 metres above sea level (1).

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Alchemilla status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR - B1+2c) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1).

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Alchemilla threats

This subspecies is particularly vulnerable, as it is only known from a single location where it is at inherent risk from any chance event such as fire. Grazing by livestock such as cattle or sheep also threaten the survival of this rare plant. Furthermore, damage by insect larvae is thought to be a problem (1).

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Alchemilla conservation

Monitoring of the existing population in order to determine whether it is undergoing a decline is urgently needed (1).

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Authentication

Authenticated (20/1/03) by Ben Pollard, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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Glossary

Herb
A small, non-woody, seed bearing plant in which all the aerial parts die back at the end of each growing season.
Subspecies
A different race of a species, which is geographically separated from other populations of that species.
Vegetative reproduction
Type of asexual reproduction (reproduction without recombination of genetic material) that results in the propagation of plants using only the vegetative tissues such as leaves or stems. The resulting plant is genetically identical to the original plant. A well-known example of this is the reproduction of strawberry plants from 'runners'.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2003) www.redlist.org
  2. Cheek, M., Onana, J.-M. and Pollard, B.J. (2000) The Plants of Mount Oku & the Ijim Ridge, a Conservation Checklist. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London.
  3. Cheek, M. (Oct, 2002) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Pers. comm.
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Image credit

Alchemilla fischerii  subsp. camerunensis whole plant  
Alchemilla fischerii subsp. camerunensis whole plant

© Martin Cheek / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 3AB
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 332 5000
Fax: +44 (0) 208 332 5197
info@kew.org
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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