IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Ziziphus celata

Ziziphus celata, commonly known as Florida ziziphus, is a listed endangered species found in central Florida, USA (Gitzendanner, Weekley, Germain-Aubrey, Soltis & Soltis, 2012: 224). It is a clonal shrub endemic to Polk and Highlands counties in southern Lake Wales Ridges, FL (Weekley & Race, 2001208). Only 14 populations have been reported (Edwards, Parchman, and Weekley, 2012: 2) and most are found on privately owned lands (Gitzendanner, Weekley, Germain-Aubrey, Soltis & Soltis, 2012: 232). It resides in well-drained yellow sands soils in areas from 3 to 800 square meters, in pastures and scrub oak habitats (Weekley & Race, 2001: 208).

The height of the plant is normally 2 meters tall (Weekley & Race, 2001208). Leaves are spatulate in shape (Delaney, Wunderlin & Hansen, 1989: 326). Flowering can begin in late December to early February (Weekley & Race, 2001: 208). Insect visitors and potential pollinators include flower flies (Copestylum nigrum and Allograpta syrphidae), a muscid fly (Coenosopsia prima), a bee fly (Villa bombylidae), and bees (Apis mellifera and Colletes colletidae) and butterflies (Heliconius charitonius tuckeri and Agraulis vanilla nigrior) (Weekley & Race, 2001: 211). The plant produces a yellow, one-seeded fruit in late April to early May (Weekley & Race, 2001: 208). Fruit set is typically very low (Gitzendanner, Weekley, Germain-Aubrey, Soltis & Soltis, 2012: 232).

Of the 14 populations have been reported (Edwards, Parchman, and Weekley, 2011: 2), 9 of these populations are each composed of its own genotype, while the remaining four populations contribute 22-32 additional genotypes (Edwards, Parchman, and Weekley, 2011: 2). The endangered status of Ziziphus celata is caused, in part, by self-incompatibility and few mating types in a population (Edwards, Parchman, and Weekley, 2011: 1-2). Self-incompatibility is the inability to pollinate using asexual reproduction (Edwards, Parchman, and Weekley, 2011: 2). Gitzendanner, Weekley, Germain-Aubrey, Soltis & Soltis (2012: 223, 231) reported 30 clonal linages from 1,000 plants, indicating high numbers of clones and low genetic diversity.


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