Background and aims: Coastal development has led to extensive habitat destruction and the near extinction of the beach clustervine, Jacquemontia reclinata (Convolvulaceae), an endangered, perennial vine endemic to dune and coastal strand communities in south-eastern Florida. We examined the breeding system of this rare species, and observed visitors to its flowers, as part of a larger effort to document its status and facilitate its recovery.
Methods: Reproductively mature experimental plants were grown from seed collected from wild plants in two of the largest remaining populations. Controlled hand pollinations on potted plants were conducted to determine the level of compatibility of the species and to investigate compatibility within and between populations. Seeds from the hand pollinations were planted in soil, and they were monitored individually, recording time to seed germination (cotyledon emergence). Wild plants were observed in several of the remaining populations to determine which species visited the flowers.
Key results: Hand pollination and seed planting experiments indicate that J. reclinata has a mixed mating system: flowers are able to set fruit with viable seeds with self-pollen, but outcross pollen produces significantly greater fruit and seed set than self-pollen (> or =50 % for crosses vs. <25 % for self-pollinations). Visitors included a wide array of insect species, primarily of the orders Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera. All visitors captured and examined carried J. reclinata pollen, and usually several other types of pollen.
Conclusions: Remnant populations of beach clustervine will have greater reproductive success not only if floral visitor populations are maintained, but also if movement of either pollen or seed takes place between populations. Restoration efforts should include provisions for the establishment and maintenance of pollinator populations.