A Guide to Finding Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia)

Special Note: This information is also available as scanned publication Science Update SRS-003 (April 2002) in Treesearch or in the original pamphlet form.

Pondberry in the wild

Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia) is a rarely seen woody plant that grows in seasonally flooded wetlands and on the edges of sinks and ponds in six southern states. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed it as an endangered species in 1986. Much of the land where pondberry previously occurred has been converted to agricultural fields. The drainage and flooding of wetlands and timber cutting have also affected pondberry populations.

Pondberry plants grow up to two meters in height. Each plant consists of many stems that are connected underground. Pondberry's small yellow flowers bloom in spring before most other plants leaf out, and the plant produces red berries in the fall. Male and female flowers are on separate plants.

Male pondberry flowers Female pondberry flowers

(Left) Male pondberry flowers.

(Right) Female pondberry flowers.

As part of a conservation program, it is essential to find all of the existing pondberry populations so that we may follow the growth or decline of the species. The information on this webpage is designed to help both amateurs and professionals correctly identify pondberry throughout the year. If you find a new population of pondberry, please contact us. We will add your information to the database we developed to track pondberry populations in the South.