Rhododendron chapmanii - Gray
Chapman's Rhododendron
Other Common Names: Chapman's rhododendron
Synonym(s): Rhododendron minus var. chapmanii (Gray) Duncan & Pullen
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Rhododendron chapmanii Gray (TSN 23715)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.131552
Element Code: PDERI150D0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Heath Family
Image 12044

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ericales Ericaceae Rhododendron
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Rhododendron chapmanii
Taxonomic Comments: Recent authors treat as R. minus var. chapmanii (Godfrey, 1988; Duncan & Pullen, 1962; Luteyn et al., 1996). Kartesz (1994) treats as full species. R. minus var. minus occurs in Georgia and southern Appalachians (Duncan & Pullen, 1962).

RECENT SYNONYM: Rhododendron minus Michx var. chapmanii (A. Gray) Duncan & Pullen: [note bene: Kartesz (1994) recognizes 3 species in this group: R. chapmanii, R. minus, and R. carolinianum despite Duncan and Pullen's (1962) contention that the three species are not consistently distinguishable by any of the characters listed. The most recent treatment of the Ericaceae (Luteyn et al., 1996)] accepts Duncan and Pullen's (1962) treatment, recognizing only R. minus and R. minus var chapmanii.]
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 28Nov2000
Global Status Last Changed: 12Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Only 32 known populations from Liberty, Gulf, Gadsden, and Clay counties, Florida (Florida Natural Areas Inventory). Changes in hydrology and soil structure from logging and clearcutting, as well as over-collection have negative impacts on this species. 1997: 40 populations totalling 2969 plants found in 1997 census - 14 populations declined since '84/85 survey.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Florida (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (24Apr1979)
Comments on USESA: FEDERAL STATUS: Rhododendron chapmanii is currently listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Federal Register 44:24248-250; April 24, 1979) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. It was proposed endangered on June 16, 1976.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: HISTORIC RANGE: Asa Gray (1877) described R. chapmanii and credited Chapman (1860) with recognizing the taxon as a variety growing in the sandy pine barrens of west Florida (Duncan and Pullen, 1962). Henry Totten (1944) reported over sixty clumps growing at Camp Blanding in north-central Florida.

CURRENT RANGE: According to surveys in 1984 and 1985 (Hardin et al., 1985) Rhododendron chapmanii is known from only three areas in Florida: coastal Gulf County in the vicinity of Port St. Joe; Liberty and Gadsden counties in the vicinity of Hosford; and Clay County on Camp Blanding Military Reservation. According to surveys in the mid-1980's, there were a total of 610 plants known from 11 sites in Gulf county (Hardin et al., 1985); ca 2320 plants from 18 sites in Gadsden and Liberty counties (Cooper et al., 1984), and 32 plants from 1 site in Clay County, giving a total of 2962 plants. New sites in the same areas of Gulf and Gadsden /Liberty counties have been sporadically reported since the 1985 survey. A complete survey of known sites in spring of 1997 showed 2158 plants from 22 sites in Gadsden/Liberty counties (Hosford area) and 484 plants from 16 sites in Gulf County (Port St Joe area) (Schltz and Johnson, 1997).

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Three clusters of EOs, 14 EOs in Liberty/Gadsden, 5 in Gulf, 1 in Clay; all but 1 of the EOs in Gulf were destroyed; 1996: 6 EOs from Gulf County verified in 1995. 1997 census:2158 plants from 29 sites visited in Hosford area (3 known sites missed); 811 plants from 21 sites in Gulf county, Port St Joe area (2 sites missed, Schultz and Johnson, 1997).

Population Size Comments: Plants occur as scattered clumps of stems with 50 to 200 stem clumps in sites of 100 to 200 square meters.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: The main threat to the populations at this time appears to be logging and bedding of logged areas for planting of slash pine plantations, begun in Liberty/Gadsden counties in 1969-70 (Godfrey, 1979). The drop in numbers of plants in the Florida panhandle between the 1984 and 1985 surveys was attributed to this cause (Hardin, et al., 1985). However, plants are known to grow in older pine plantations, thus they can survive these procedures to some degree. New surveys of known sites in 1997 showed a 9% decline in plant numbers following pine harvest and re-planting in Gulf County and a 46% decline in numbers (from the same sites as surveyed in 1985) in Liberty/Gadsden counties. The overall numbers of plants did not decline to that degree because new populations have been discovered since 1984/5. FNAI is currently working with St Joe Timber Company to determine what practices would best help to save the plants. A second possible threat is competition from other woody species in the absence of fire. In the 11-year time frame of monitored plots in the Florida panhandle (Schultz and Johnson, 1996) there was no evidence of shrub numbers of R. chapmanii decreasing with increased density and height of competing species, although R. chapmanii in one plot did show a vigorous sprouting and flowering response to fire.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: HISTORIC RANGE: Asa Gray (1877) described R. chapmanii and credited Chapman (1860) with recognizing the taxon as a variety growing in the sandy pine barrens of west Florida (Duncan and Pullen, 1962). Henry Totten (1944) reported over sixty clumps growing at Camp Blanding in north-central Florida.

CURRENT RANGE: According to surveys in 1984 and 1985 (Hardin et al., 1985) Rhododendron chapmanii is known from only three areas in Florida: coastal Gulf County in the vicinity of Port St. Joe; Liberty and Gadsden counties in the vicinity of Hosford; and Clay County on Camp Blanding Military Reservation. According to surveys in the mid-1980's, there were a total of 610 plants known from 11 sites in Gulf county (Hardin et al., 1985); ca 2320 plants from 18 sites in Gadsden and Liberty counties (Cooper et al., 1984), and 32 plants from 1 site in Clay County, giving a total of 2962 plants. New sites in the same areas of Gulf and Gadsden /Liberty counties have been sporadically reported since the 1985 survey. A complete survey of known sites in spring of 1997 showed 2158 plants from 22 sites in Gadsden/Liberty counties (Hosford area) and 484 plants from 16 sites in Gulf County (Port St Joe area) (Schltz and Johnson, 1997).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL

Range Map
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U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Clay (12019), Gadsden (12039), Gulf (12045), Liberty (12077)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Lower Ochlockonee (03120003)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+, Apalachicola Bay (03130014)+, St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays (03140101)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial, evergreen shrub, up to 3 m tall, with a bushy, upright growth habit. The leaves are alternately arranged on the stem and are elliptic or egg-shaped. The rose-colored flowers are shaped like funnels and are borne in compact clusters (Kral 1983; Clewell 1985).
General Description: Description based on Duncan and Pullen (1962), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1983), and the author's personal observations. Evergreen shrub up to 10 feet tall, leaves 3-13 cm long, 1-5.5 cm wide, inrolled, with rusty scales on undersides. Branches stiffly ascending in younger plants, curled and leaning on surrounding vegetation in older and more shaded stands. Flowers borne in showy terminal clusters are bright pink with funnel-shaped corollas about 3 cm long. Flowering was observed to be stimulated by fire, with sprouts as short as 30 cm bearing flowers after previous year's fire. Fruit is a capsule 7-14 mm long and 3-5 mm wide.
Technical Description: Description from Luteyn et al., 1996. A member of the heath family (Ericaceae), this species is an evergreen shrub up to 3m tall. Twigs with multicellular ferrugineous peltate scales. Leaves thick, coriaceous, elliptic, 5-8 cm long, 2-3.5 cm wide with scattered ferrugineous scales ("deciduous above); margin plane to conspicuously revolute, entire. Flowers terminal; corolla campanulate to funnelform, dark to pale pink, the upper lobe usually with greenish spots, 1.5-3.5 cm long, tube 8 to 22 mm long, lobes 8 to 19 mm long. Stamens 10, included to slightly exerted. Capsules 6-14 mm long, 2.9-5 mm wide, with ferrugineous peltate scales.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Duncan and Pullen (1962) could find no consistent characters to separate two species of lepidote rhododendrons, R. carolinianum Rehd., and R. minus Michx. R. carolinianum is known from the higher mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina; R. minus is known from the inner coastal plain to the Blue Ridge in North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. R. chapmanii A. Gray was thought by Gray to be closely related to R. minus. It occurs in north Florida, its populations disjunct from the nearest Georgia population of R. minus by ca. 120 miles. According to Luteyn et al. (1996), R.. chapmanii is distinguished from R. minus by leaf apices usually obtuse or rounded (vs acute to acuminate), leaf veins often depressed, petioles 2-6 (vs 6-10) mm long, and branches held erect and rigid.

R. chapmanii is the only native rhododendron in Florida with ferrugineous scales on leaves. The shrub resembles and grows with rusty lyonia (Lyonia ferruginea); it's easiest to spot when in flower, in late March to early April.

Reproduction Comments: Although R. chapmanii flowers and fruits abundantly, no seedlings were observed in the 1996 monitoring event (author, pers. obs.), and only one was found in the 1985 monitoring event (Hardin, et al., 1985). Plants are grown from seed for the nursery trade (Hardin, et al., 1985), so presumably they are reasonably easy to germinate and grow in captivity.
Ecology Comments: Ann Redmond made notes and diagrams of five plants that she excavated to a depth of ca 20 cm near the permanent monitoring plots in Gulf and Liberty/Gadsden counties (Redmond, 1985). She observed that clumps of stems, which would have been considered several "plants" for monitoring purposes from an above-ground point of view, often were found to arise from the same underground rootstock when excavated. Thus there were actually fewer genetic individuals present than there were stem clumps tagged. She also noted evidence of areas in the roostock where former stems had died and rotted away and evidence of grafting between stems from different sources. From her rough diagrams it appears that the undergound biomass of rootstock plus roots would exceed the biomass of the aboveground stems. All of the excavations showed rhizomes heading out from the central roostock to beyond the area of the excavation which generally covered an area of less than 1 m2.

PHENOLOGY: Rhododendron chapmanii has a fairly narrow two to three week flowering period which may begin from mid- March to early April (Duncan and Pullen, 1962; Hardin et al., 1985; Schultz and Johnson, 1996). A hard freeze in January and March 1985 may have delayed and reduced flowering in that year by killing the buds (Hardin, et al., 1985).

Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Habitat Comments: Acidic, moist to wettish, highly organic sands of ecotones between flatwoods and titi bogs in the drainage tributaries of the Apalachicola River, Florida (Kral 1983).

In Gulf, Gadsden, and Liberty counties, R. chapmanii is found scattered in wet, mesic, or scrubby flatwoods (FNAI/FDNR, 1990), often on the border between these communities and titi (Cliftonia monophylla, Cyrilla racemiflora) swamps. These flatwoods communities have an overstory of widely scattered longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and an understory of wiregrass (Aristida stricta) with scattered clumps of shrubs, including besides R. chapmanii: sand live oak (Quercus geminata), rusty lyonia (Lyonia ferruginea), shiny lyonia (L. lucida), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) (data from FNAI site survey summaries for 1985). Plants of R. chapmanii were also noted in artificially disturbed situations such as slash pine (P. elliottii) plantations and clearcut lands (author, pers. obs., 1995). In Clay County at the Camp Blanding site, the plants are on a slope to a stream growing under a canopy of sand live oak, laurel oak (Q. hemisphaerica) and water oak (Q. nigra), rather than in open flatwoods (Hardin and Redmond, 1985). This community would be classified as xeric hammock under the FNAI/FDNR natural communities classification (FNAI/FDNR, 1990).

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Permanent plots should be set up and monitored yearly for numbers of stems and habitat disturbances to determine whether the populations are being adversely affected by logging and planting of pine plantations.
Monitoring Requirements: MONITORING NEEDS AND PROCEDURES: Permanent plots need to be monitored for numbers of stems and the silvicultural and other disturbances to these plots documented yearly to determine whether and if so to what degree the populations are being adversely affected by logging and planting of pine plantations.
Monitoring Programs: EXISTING MONITORING PROGRAMS: The Florida Natural Areas Inventory has 8 permanent plots (2 in Gulf County, 4 in Liberty/Gadsden counties, and 2 in Clay county). All 8 were monitored in 1985 (Hardin et al., 1985) and 6 of the 8 (Gulf and Gadsden/Liberty) were monitored in 1996 (Schultz and Johnson, 1996). Summary reports and raw data are on file at the Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04May1999
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cooper, S.T., rev. D.L. White; REV A.F. JOHNSON, 1996 and 1999
Management Information Edition Date: 04May1999
Management Information Edition Author: ANN JOHNSON, FL NATURAL AREAS INVENTORY

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • CLEWELL, ANDRE F. 1985. GUIDE TO THE VASCULAR PLANTS OF THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE. UNIV. PRESSES OF FLORIDA, GAINESVILLE, FL. 605 PP.

  • Chapman, A.W. 1860. Flora of the Southern United States. Phinney and Co., New York. 621 pp.

  • Clewell, A.F. 1985. Guide to vascular plants of the Florida panhandle. Florida State Univ. Press, Tallahassee, Florida. 605 pp.

  • Cooper, S.T., S.E. Gatewood, and G.E. Schultz. 1984. Results of a survey for new populations of Rhododendron chapmanii. Unpublished report. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 8 pp.

  • Duncan, W. H., and T. M. Pullen. 1962. Lepidote Rhododendrons of the Southeastern United States. Brittonia 14:290-298.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2009. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 8. Magnoliophyta: Paeoniaceae to Ericaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxiv + 585 pp.

  • Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI)/Florida Department of Natural Resources. 1990. Guide to the Natural Communities of Florida. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee. 111 pp.

  • Godfrey, R.K. 1979. Rhododendron chapmanii. Page 57 in D.B. Ward, editor. Rare and endangered biota of Florida. Volume 5. Plants. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

  • Godfrey, R.K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. 734 pp.

  • Gray, A. 1877. Contributions to the botany of North America. Proc. Acad. Phila. II - 4: 51-84.

  • Hardin, E.D. and A. Redmond. 1985. Monitoring and experimental management plans for the Clay County (Camp Blanding) population of Rododendron chapmanii. Unpublished report, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee.

  • Hardin, E.D., A. Redmond, S. Gatewood, and G.E. Schultz. 1985. Population survey, monitoring program and commercial availability of Rododendron chapmanii. Unpublished report, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. Prepared for: Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville. 32 pp.

  • KRAL, R. 1983.A REPORT ON SOME RARE,THREATENED,OR ENDANGEREDFOREST-RELATED VASCULAR PLANTS OF THE SOUTH.VOL I ISOETACEAETHROUGH EUPHORBIACEAE;VOL II AQUIFOLIACEA THROUGH ASTERACEAE& GLOSSARY.USDA FOREST SERV,SE REG.,ATL,GA. TECH PUBL R8-TP2

  • Kartesz, J. T. 1991. Synonym names from 1991 checklist, as extracted by Larry Morse, TNC, June 1991.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kral, R. 1983c. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2, Athens, GA. 1305 pp.

  • Luteyn, J. L., W. S. Judd, S. P. Vander Kloet, L. J. Dorr, G. D. Wallace, K. A. Kron, P. F. Stevens, S. E. Clemants. 1996. Ericaceae of the Southeastern United States. Castanea 61: 101-144.

  • Redmond, A. 1985. Unpublished notes on excavations of shrubs of Rhododendron chapmanii. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee.

  • Schultz, Gary E. and Ann F. Johnson. 1996. 1996 Monitoring of Rhododendron chapmanii in Gadsden, Gulf and Liberty counties, FL., prepared for FL Dept. of Forestry (FDACS) by Florida Nat. Areas Invent.

  • Schultz, Gary E. and Ann F. Johnson. 1997. Rhododendron chapmanii: 1997 census of populations in Gadsden, Gulf, and Libery counties, Florida. Prepared Florida Division of Forestry under contract agreement 3210 and funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (section 6 grant). FNAI, 1018 Thomasville Rd., Suite 200-C, Tallahassee, FL 32303.

  • Totten, H.R. 1944. A station for Rhododendron chapmanii in eastern Florida. Proc. Fla. Acad. Sci. 7 nos.2-3.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1983. Recovery plan for Chapman's rhododendron, Rhododendron chapmanii A. Gray. Prepared by R. W. Simons. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Atlanta, Georgia. 41 pp.

  • WUNDERLIN, RICHARD P. 1982. GUIDE TO THE VASCULAR PLANTS OF CENTRAL FLORIDA. UNIV. PRESSES OF FLA., TAMPA, ST. PETERSBURG, FT. MEYERS, SARASOTA

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Univ. Presses Florida, Gainesville. 472 pp.

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