A study of the early fruit characteristics of pondberryThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Pondberry [Lindera melissifolia (Walt.) Blume] is an endangered, dioecious, clonal shrub that grows in forested wetlands in the Southeastern United States. Because pondberry is endangered, presence of this plant could limit silvicultural options available to managers of public lands. Interest in pondberry has focused on the clonal nature of this species, and little has been published about the early physical and biochemical characteristics of the fruit as they mature. Four fruits from each of 40 plants were subsampled on a 30-day schedule after flower anthesis. Three months (90 days) after flowering, a complete seed had formed within the fruit. Of the total fruit weight (average 0.228 g), seed tissue accounted for 33 percent of the mass gained from 2 months (60 days) after flowering. Preliminary lipid analysis revealed the presence of myristic, palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic fatty acids; lauric acid was not found in any of the early seed samples but was plentiful at later stages in seed development. Preliminary results from seed longevity and persistence studies indicate that seeds without pulp and seeds left on the soil surface germinate more rapidly than buried seeds or those with the pulp intact.