Pontic Rhododendron

 

Pontic Rhododendron

On the European continent the Rhododendron ponticum subsp. baeticum are found only in small and scattered areas of the western Iberian Peninsula. Like the Portuguese Laurel, this is also a relic of vegetation existing in the Iberian Peninsula for several million years.

National populations are scarce and fragmented and more susceptible to the effects of climate change. According to recent research, Iberian populations are also elderly, with a general lack of juveniles. Studies indicate that although Pontic Rhododendron seeds are abundant and easily dispersible by wind, seedlings are unable to settle due to the general lack of environmental conditions. In this circumstance, populations have persisted because they were able to perpetuate themselves vegetatively. This situation shows a serious risk of extinction, especially if environmental conditions become very severe for species, as indicated by the predicted climate change scenarios for the Iberian Peninsula.