Assessing the Reproductive Ecology of a Rare Mint, Macbridea alba, an Endangered Species Act Protected Species

Sara A. Johnson, Janice Coons, David N. Zaya, Brenda Molano-Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many rare plant species lack up-to-date research about their reproductive ecology, which challenges effective in situ and ex situ conservation, particularly in the face of ongoing environmental and anthropogenic changes. For protected species, outdated and incomplete information also creates barriers to successful recovery planning and delisting. In this study, we gathered a range of reproductive metrics for the federally threatened and state endangered Florida endemic mint, Macbridea alba Chapman (Lamiaceae). We collected data at seven populations within Apalachicola National Forest (Florida, USA) and conducted germination trials to estimate reproductive potential. Additionally, we observed a previously undocumented lepidopteran seed predator for the species and confirmed the occurrence of vivipary. The seed set was low with less than 20% of flowers per inflorescence producing seed across populations; however, germination was high with more than 60% of seeds germinating in five of seven populations. When comparing our results to previous research conducted more than 20 years ago, the results were similar overall (i.e., germination, vivipary); however, new information emerged (i.e., herbivore pressure). As M. alba undergoes reassessment as a potential candidate for delisting from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) list, this information is critical for assessing recovery goals and decisions regarding the species’ protected status. For recovery needs related to propagation and reintroduction, these results can inform future seed collection and propagation efforts for the species.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1485
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • endemic plants
  • ex situ conservation
  • Lamiaceae
  • Macbridea alba
  • rare plants
  • recruitment
  • seed ecology
  • seed predator
  • vivipary
  • herbivory


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