Devall, Margaret S. , Schiff, Nathan M. , Skojac, Stephanie A. .
Reproductive biology of pondberry (Lindera melissifolia [Walt] Blume).
Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia [Walt] Blume, Lauraceae), is a rhizomatous, clonal shrub up to two meters tall that occurs in seasonally flooded wetlands and on the wet edges of sinks, ponds and depressions in six southern states. The distribution and abundance of pondberry have been affected by habitat destruction and alteration, and it was listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1986. Pondberry usually occurs in colonies of numerous stems with few branches. The species is dioecious, with small yellow flowers that bloom in early spring before leafing out occurs. The sex ratio of stems is uneven, favoring males, and at some sites there are no female stems. The fruit is a drupe about one cm long that ripens in late summer. We have monitored flowering, insect visitation and fruiting at several locations in Mississippi and Arkansas since 1998. During flowering, stems at each location were tagged, flowers were observed and the gender was noted. Flower clusters on male and female stems and the number of flowers per cluster were counted. Flower visitors were collected alternately on flowers of male and female stems on warm, sunny days, and other insects were collected on pondberry throughout the year. Fruit were monitored until ripening occurred. Male pondberry flowers open a few days before female flowers. A male stem may produce up to 400 flowers, and a female stem may produce up to 300 flowers and 100 fruit. The plants are susceptible to late freezes, which may kill all the flowers or young fruit at a location, precluding fruit production for that year. We collected at least 21 potential pollinators of pondberry including 14 Diptera, one Coleoptera and 7 Hymenoptera. None of them seemed to be specific to pondberry although some were known to feed on members of the Lauraceae.
1 - U.S. Forest Service, Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research, P.O. Box 227, Stoneville, Mississippi, 38776, US
Presentation Type: Paper
Location: Wasatch (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004
Time: 2:45 PM