Age and distribution of an evergreen clonal shrub in the Coweeta basin: Rhododendron maximum L
Rhododendron maximum L. is an evergreen, clonal shrub that forms a dominant sub-canopy layer and is a key species in southern Appalachian forests. We investigated the age and distribution of R. maximum across the Coweeta Basin, a 1626 ha watershed in western North Carolina. We selected 16 perennial, second-order streams and used a Global Positioning System to establish site boundaries and map the coverage of R. maximum across the hillslopes from stream to ridge. In each site, three transects from stream edge to the ridge were used to measure diameters of overstory trees (≥ 2.5 cm dbh), tree saplings ( 2 = 0.026, P = 0.0003, n = 487). Distance from stream only explained 4.2% of the variation in overstory tree age (r 2 = 0.042, P = 0.0015, n=237). It appears that R. maximum has not expanded upslope over the last 100 years; rather the ranges in sizes and ages suggest that ramets are recruiting under established R. maximum canopies particularly in the wetter, near stream locations.
Elliott, Katherine J.
Vose, James M.
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 139(2):149-166
Elliott, Katherine J.; Vose, James M. 2012. Age and distribution of an evergreen clonal shrub in the Coweeta basin: Rhododendron maximum L. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 139(2):149-166.