Alchemilla (Alchemilla fischeri camerunensis)
|Size||Stolon length: over 50 cm (2)|
Main stem height: up to 25 cm (2)
Classified as Critically Endangered (CR - B1+2c) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (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).
Found on the summit of Mount Oku in Cameroon, West Africa (1).
Inhabits rocky grassland and scrub at around 2,800 - 3,000 metres above sea level (1).
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).
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).
Monitoring of the existing population in order to determine whether it is undergoing a decline is urgently needed (1).
Authenticated (20/1/03) by Ben Pollard, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- 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'.
- IUCN Red List (January, 2003) www.redlist.org
- 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.
- Cheek, M. (Oct, 2002) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Pers. comm.