Data from: Extensive clonal spread and longevity of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) provide insight into management plans
Takahashi, Mizuki K et al. (2011), Data from: Extensive clonal spread and longevity of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) provide insight into management plans, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6th24
As an ecologically important foundation species, Serenoa repens provides crucial structural and functional services to many southeastern United States ecosystems. Its fruits are valuable to many vertebrates including medicinal uses by humans. Many land managers, however, consider Serenoa a troublesome plant that spread rapidly to dominate other plants. Accordingly, management plans have been developed to reduce Serenoa. Yet, we have little evidence of Serenoa spread/invasion. Furthermore, our understanding of its life history traits including generation time, clonal propagation, and seed recruitment is limited, which provides a poor basis for the development of proper management plans. By using AFLPs and clonal-network modeling, our goal is to reveal such life history information to provide insights into proper Serenoa management. We analyzed 263 Serenoa and 134 Sabal etonia (a sympatric non-clonal palmetto) samples collected from a 20 x 20 m plot in Florida scrub. Sabal samples were used to assign small palmettos whose species were unidentifiable in the field to Serenoa or Sabal and also as a negative control for clone detection. Our results suggest extensive clonal spread and remarkable longevity in Serenoa, while showing no evidence of Sabal clones. Serenoa predominantly propagate via vegetative sprouts and 10,000 yr-old genets are likely common. The results of this and previous studies suggest that: (1) Serenoa has been part of scrub associations for thousands of years, (2) Serenoa invasion is unlikely, and (3) once reduced or eliminated from local communities, Serenoa’s restoration will be difficult. Reevaluation of the current management plans is an urgent task.