Cephalotaxus fortunei var. alpina H.L.Li

Taxaceae

A poorly known variety from the mountains in SW China. Deforestation is likely to have had an impact within its restricted range and therefore it has been assessed as Near Threatened.

Description

This variety differs from the typical form in its sessile pollen cones and the raised ridges along the aril. Fertile material is necessary for accurate identification.

Distribution

Known only from China: southern Gansu, Sichuan, northern Yunnan and possibly Shaanxi although its occurrence there has not been confirmed. It is probably confined to the higher parts of southwestern China: its true range may be poorly known due to difficulty of identification and relatively inconspicuous habit.

Habitat and Ecology

An understorey shrub or small tree in mixed conifer forests, e.g. with Abies spp., and along mountain streams. Elevation (from GIS) 885-2,554 m, from herbarium specimens 1,100-3,700 m a.s.l. In southern Gansu and Sichuan var. alpina occurs in forests dominated by Abies, Picea or Larix, or a mixture of these conifers, between 1,800 m and 3,600 m a.s.l. Here it is a subcanopy tree or shrub, often accompanied by Taxus chinensis and shrubs like Eurya and Rhododendron.

Human Uses

No uses have been recorded except as an ornamental shrub in horticulture

Conservation Status

Global Status and Rationale

Near Threatened [VU B2ab (iii)]

This taxon appears to have a small area of occupancy (estimated from herbarium collections to be 589 km²) that is certainly less than 2,000 km², and the population is severely fragmented. Some decline is suspected due to high rates of deforestation in some parts of its range at the end of the last century. Therefore this taxon is listed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion B2ab(iii).

Global Threats

No specific threats or recent decline have been observed or recorded. However some decline is suspected due to high rates of deforestation within its range.

Conservation Actions

This variety, based on the herbarium collections, is not known to occur in any protected areas, however, some collections were made near the Three Parallel Rivers Protected Area in Yunnan and the variety may occur in that reserve