Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (526 KB)

Title: Age and distribution of an evergreen clonal shrub in the Coweeta basin: Rhododendron maximum L

Author: Elliott, Katherine J.; Vose, James M.;

Date: 2012

Source: Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 139(2):149-166

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: 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 (< 2.5 cm dbh) and shrubs including R. maximum stems. Along each transect, we cut cross-sections of R. maximum ramets and extracted increment cores from nearest neighbor trees to determine ages. The 16 sites ranged in size from 0.3 to 1.9 ha depending on the distance from stream to ridge. Rhododendron maximum cover ranged from 25 to 100% and ages ranged from 6 to 120 years. Rhododendron maximum establishment year showed a skewed unimodal distribution with the peak establishment occurring between 1928 and 1940. Although the R. maximum age and distance-from-stream relationship was statistically significant, the relationship was not meaningful as distance-from-stream only explained 2.6% of the variation in R. maximum age (r2 = 0.026, P = 0.0003, n = 487). Distance from stream only explained 4.2% of the variation in overstory tree age (r2 = 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.

Keywords: Dendrochronology, riparian areas, Southern Appalachians, streams

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



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.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.