Ecology and Biology of Melaleuca quinquenervia Cheryl McCormick-Rote



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Ecology and Biology of Melaleuca quinquenervia

  • Cheryl McCormick-Rote

  • Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

  • UF-IFAS

  • Gainesville, Florida 32653

  • cheryl@ufl.edu


Background



About Melaleuca



Identifying Features



Identifying Features



Soils

  • Soils

  • Drought

  • Flooding

  • Nutrients

  • Light

  • Fire



Seasonal Patterns

  • Flowers produced w/in 1 yr of germination

  • Year-round; mostly fall-winter (Oct-March)

  • Individual trees flower up to five times per year

  • New Shoot growth

  • Begins in mid winter; extends into spring

  • Plant Mating Systems – “Monecious”

  • Self-compatible & out-crossing; insect pollinated



Seed Production

  • Massive seed production

  • 30-70 seed capsules/twig

  • Average 264 seeds/capsule

  • Over 500,000 seeds/twig/year!

  • Why is this significant?

  • 3x more than native range

  • Contributes to rapid colonization

  • High germination

  • Release triggered by fire/girdling/stem damage



Seed Dispersal

  • No adaptations to facilitate seed dispersal

      • High germination of seeds floating – long distance
      • Most fall close to parent tree – short distance
      • Wind – Almost all disperse no farther than ~ 500’
      • Hurricane-force winds: ~ 11 miles
      • No animal vectors (birds – exception?)


Seeds Everywhere…

  • Continuous, light seed rain

  • Mature stand: bi-weekly rain = ~2300 seeds/m2

  • Aerial seed bank estimates: 100 million seeds!

  • 15% embryos  62% viable  75% germinate

  • ~ 7 million germinated = lots of saplings!

  • High percentage of dormant seeds

  • Germination

  • Saturated soil (w/in 3 days)

  • Optimum in full sun, but not required

  • Can germinate underwater on soil

  • Favors “Noisy hydroperiods” & wet conditions



Habitat Requirements



Invaded Communities



Population Dynamics



Implications for Native Species



… Thank You!




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