Reproductive biology of three sympatric endangered plants endemic to Florida scrub

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


We investigated the reproductive biology of three plants endemic to rosemary scrub habitats on the Lake Wales Ridge of Florida, USA. We used hand-pollination experiments and observations of flowers and their insect visitors to determine their mating systems and pollination. Fruit or seed set after self pollination was 94, 97, and 8% of fruit or seed set after cross pollination in Eryngium cuneifolium (Apiaceae), Hypericum cumulicola (Hypericaceae), and Liatris ohlingerae (Asteraceae) respectively, indicating that the first two are self-compatible and the last is obligately outcrossing. All three depend on insects for seed production (4-7% fruit or seed set without insects). Diverse insects visit flowers of E. cuneifolium (101 species recorded), whereas L. ohlingerae is visited predominantly by butterflies and H. cumulicola by one genus of bees (Dialictus, Halictidae). Our data indicate pollinator visitation does not currently limit seed production in E. cuneifolium or H. cumulicola, but does in L. ohlingerae. Despite the features they share (habit, habitat, disturbance regime), we found unique aspects of these species' reproductive biology yielding unique risks to population viability. We suggest that multispecies recovery plans must consider several aspects of the biology of species with superficial similarities to be successful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Eryngium cuneifolium
  • Florida scrub
  • Hypericum cumulicola
  • Liatris ohlingerae
  • Mating system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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