Hippophae is a small genus of three species, all native in temperate Eurasia. The very variable Hippophae rhamnoides L. is a common native species in coastal dunes. It is represented in Belgium by subsp. rhamnoides (syn.: subsp. maritima v. Soest). A second subspecies, subsp. fluviatilis v. Soest, is sometimes introduced. Their morphological distinction is often critical. As a matter of fact, their differentiation is chiefly geographical and ecological. Despite this, some recent authors tend to accept them all at specific rank (see for instance Loos 2010, Banfi & al. 2011).

Both subspecies are possibly best distinguished as follows:

  • Leaves linear-lanceolate, 2-6 mm wide. Branches long and straight, often less spinose. Fruit (when dry) 5-6 mm x 4-6 mm, obovate to almost spherical  === subsp. fluviatilis
  • Leaves wider, up to 8 mm wide. Branches short, more or less tortuous and often very spinose. Fruit (when dry) 7-9 mm x 5-7 mm, cylindrical === subsp. rhamnoides

Selected literature

Banfi E., Galasso G. & Soldano A. (2011) Notes on systematics and taxonomy for the Italian vascular flora. 2. Atti Soc. It. Sci. Nat. Museo Civ. Stor. Nat. Milano 152(II): 85-106.

Jäger E.J. & Werner K. (eds.) (2005) Rothmaler Band 4. Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Gefässpflanzen: Kritischer Band. Springer Verlag, Berlin: 880 p.

Lambinon J., Delvosalle L., Duvigneaud J. (avec coll. Geerinck D., Lebeau J., Schumacker R. & Vannerom H. (2004) Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des Régions voisines (Ptéridophytes et Spermatophytes). Cinquième édition. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise: CXXX + 1167 p.

Loos G.H. (2010) Taxonomische Neukombinationen zur Flora Mittel- und Osteuropas, insbesondere Nordrhein-Westfalens. Online-Veröff. Bochumer Bot. Ver. 2(1): 1-20. [available online at: http://www.botanik-bochum.de/html/publ/OVBBV2-1_Loos_TaxonomischeAenderu...

Rousi A. (1971) The genus Hippophae L., a taxonomic study. Ann. Bot. Fenn. 8: 177-227.

Servettaz C. (1909) Monographie des Eléagnacées. Beihefte Bot. Centralbl. 25: 1-128.

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