Mating systems and limits to seed production in two Dicerandra mints endemic to Florida scrub

Margaret E.K. Evans, Eric S. Menges, Doria R. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We used hand-pollination experiments to test the mating systems of and evaluate limits to seed production in two federally listed endangered plants endemic to the Lake Wales Ridge in Florida, USA: Dicerandra frutescens Shinners ssp. frutescens Huck and D. christmanii Huck and Judd (Lamiaceae). Both are nonclonal, short-lived perennials found in gaps created by disturbance (e.g., fire, roads) in Florida scrub. We found that both species require pollen and insect visitation to produce seeds. We detected pollinator limitation of seed production in D. christmanii but not D. frutescens ssp. frutescens, which we suggest is a function of time-since-disturbance or gap size rather than intrinsic differences between the two species. Both species are self-compatible. Inbreeding depression reduced seed set by 60% in D. frutescens ssp. frutescens but did not occur in D. christmanii. We conclude that pollinator limitation (in fire-suppressed populations of both species) and inbreeding depression (in D. frutescens ssp. frutescens) have the potential to limit seed production in these seed-dependent, rare species. Appropriate fire management should mitigate both of these risks, by maintaining large populations and conditions attractive to pollinators. Although these two species are very similar in reproductive biology, comparisons with other Florida scrub endemics and with rare plants in general suggest that potential threats to conservation via reproductive biology are difficult to predict, depending on combinations of ecology, life-history, and phylogenetic history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1819-1832
Number of pages14
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Dicerandra
  • Fire
  • Florida scrub
  • Inbreeding depression
  • Mating system
  • Pollinator limitation
  • Self-incompatibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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