CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Ziziphus celata

Photographer:
Steve Shirah

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Ziziphus celata


Family: 
Rhamnaceae  
Common Names: 
ancient ziziphus, Florida ziziphus
Author: 
Judd & Hall
Growth Habit: 
Shrub
CPC Number: 
4458

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Ziziphus celataenlarge
Photographer: Steve Shirah

Ziziphus celataenlarge
Photographer: Steve Shirah


Ziziphus celata is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Carl W. Weekley contributed to this Plant Profile.

 
Ziziphus celata


Florida ziziphus (Ziziphus celata) is one of the rarest and most imperiled plants in Florida. It is so rare that the taxonomists who named it thought they were describing an extinct species. And given its limited geographic distribution, small populations, lack of genetic diversity and reluctance to reproduce sexually, the taxonomists’ fear could still prove true.

Florida ziziphus was named and described in 1984 from a specimen that had languished in an herbarium drawer for 36 years. No live plant was known to the taxonomists who described it (Judd and Hall 1984). But, beginning in 1987 (Delaney et al. 1989), six small populations of Florida ziziphus were discovered along a 35 mile stretch of the Lake Wales Ridge in Central Florida. Its natural habitat was probably longleaf pine/wiregrass sandhill, but today four of the six known populations are in pastures, where they have been subjected to mowing, periodic (unsuccessful) attempts at eradication, and trampling by cattle.

A member of the buckthorn family (the Rhamnaceae), Florida ziziphus is a single or multi-stemmed woody shrub, 3 to 6 ft. in height. It has spiny, zigzag branches with small (less than 1 in. long) alternate leaves, shiny on their upper surface. The leaves are deciduous, falling in December before flowering begins in early January.
Flowers are tiny--four fit neatly on the face of a dime--and are perfect, containing both anthers and a pistil surrounded by a nectar ring. Mature plants bloom profusely, with flowers numbering in the tens of thousands. The fragrant flowers attract legions of insects, including flower flies, bees, wasps and butterflies. Some floral visitors are quite noisy and on sunny mornings plants can be heard as well as smelled from several yards away. The fruit is a drupe about 1/2 in. in length that turns yellow as it ripens in late May.

Most populations of Florida ziziphus consist of more or less distinct clumps of apparently disparate plants which, once examined genetically, turn out to be a single genetic individual (a clone). These clones are not only self-incompatible—incapable of producing offspring—but many clones are also cross-incompatible. Thus most populations do not reproduce sexually. Sterile populations can persist through vegetative growth, with new stems arising from an expanding root system, but long term viability requires the restoration of sexually-reproductive populations (Weekley et al. 1999).

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Florida
State Range of  Ziziphus celata
Habitat
  This species is thought to occur naturally on the periphery of turkey oak sandhills or yellow sand oak-hickory scrub communities. (USFWS 1999) However, most known species are persisting in pastures.

Distribution
  Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands Counties, Florida

Number Left
  Six sites/populations: three populations each comprise a single genotype; two sites have two or three genotypes (Weekley et al. in press, Godt et al. 1997); the number of genotypes on the newly discovered sixth site is not yet known. At least four populations are self-sterile.

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
2/29/2000
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
10/24/1996
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
Yes
 
1/29/1990

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Florida S1 LE 4/1/1998  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  In the one remaining natural population, Florida ziziphus co-occurs with sandhill species typical of southern Lake Wales Ridge sandhill.

Threats
  • Habitat destruction
• Fire suppression
• Conversion of sandhill habitat for agricultural purposes

Current Research Summary
  The sexually mature population of Florida ziziphus comprises 11 genotypes (Weekley et al. in press, Godt et al. 1997). It is self-incompatible and many genotypes are also cross-incompatible (Weekley and Race 2001, Weekley et al. in press). Cross-incompatibility in Florida ziziphus is believed to be due to the sharing of self-incompatibility (SI) alleles. Based on current evidence, Florida ziziphus may consist of as few as three SI mating types. Further research is currently being conducted on cross-compatibility of previously untested crosses. Genotyping of 300+ seedlings is underway in preparation for an experimental introduction on a protected site within the historic range of the species.

Current Management Summary
  Two sites for Florida ziziphus are now protected--but these two sites (which are contiguous) comprise only two cross-incompatible genotypes. However, all known populations are currently monitored annually and site maintenance is conducted to control exotics.

Research Management Needs
  Research on the reproductive biology, genetics, germination requirements and seed ecology of Florida ziziphus is ongoing.

Ex Situ Needs
  The ex situ population at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida, includes most of the known genetic diversity of the species. Additional material for the ex situ population will be collected in January 2002.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Coile, N.C. 2000. Notes on Florida's Regulated Plant Index (Rule 5B-40), Botany Contribution 38. Gainesville, Florida: Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry.

FNAI. 2000. Field Guide to the Rare Plants and Animals of Florida online. Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

Electronic Sources

(2002). Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. [Web site] University of South Florida Institute for Systematic Botany. http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu/isb/default.htm. Accessed: 2008.

USGS. (2002). Status of Listed Species and Recovery Plan Development. [Web site] USGS: Norther Prairie Wildlife Research Center. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/others/recoprog/plant.htm. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

Abrahamson, W.G. 1984. Post-fire Recovery of Florida Lake Wales Ridge Vegetation. American Journal of Botany. 71, 1: 9-21.

Abrahamson, W.G.; Johnson, A.F.; Layne, J.N.; Peroni, P.A. 1984. Vegetation of the Archbold Biological Station: an example of the southern Lake Wales Ridge. Florida Scientist. 47: 209-250.

Delaney, K.R.; Wunderlin, R.P.; Hansen, B. 1989. Rediscovery of Ziziphus celata (Rhamnaceae). Sida. 13: 325-330.

Godt, M.J.W.; Race, T.; Hamrick, J.L. 1997. A population genetic analysis of Ziziphus celata, an endangered Florida shrub. Journal of Heredity. 88, 6: 531-533.

Judd, W.S.; Hall, D.W. 1984. A new species of Ziziphus (Rhamnaceae) from Florida. Rhodora. 86: 381-387.

Martin, T. 2000. Florida's Desert: Saving a vanishing treasure. Plant Talk. 21: 26-29.

Race, T. 1998. Update on Ziziphus celata: the persistent species. Plant Conservation. 8, 2: 1.

Race, T. Florida Ziziphus (Ziziphus celata). Bok Tower Gardens Newsletter. 8.

Race, T.. Etonia Rosemary (Conradina etonia). The Bok Tower Gardens Newsletter.

USFWS. 1988. Listing Proposed. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 13, 9-10: 7.

USFWS. 1988. Proposed Endangered Status for Liatris ohlingerae and Ziziphus celata. Federal Register. 53, 188: 37818-37821.

USFWS. 1993. Endangered status for four Florida plants. Federal Register. 54, 143: 31190-31196.

Villa-Lobos, J. 1999. South Florida Multi-Species Recovery Plan. Plant Talk, Plant Conservation Worldwide. No. 18: 15.

Wallace, S.R. 1991. Central Florida Scrub: Trying to Save the Pieces. Endangered Species UPDATE. 8, 1: 60-62.

Weekley, C.; Race, T.; Hardin, D. 1999. Saving Florida Ziziphus: Recovery of a rare Lake Wales Ridge endemic. The Palmetto. 19, 2: 9-10,20.

Weekley, C.W.; Kubisiak, T.L.; Race, T. 2002. Genetic impoverishment and cross-incompatibility in remnant genotypes of Ziziphus celata (Rhamnaceae), a rare shrub endemic to the Lake Wales Ridge, Florida. Biodiversity and Conservation. 11: 2027-2046.

Weekley, C.W.; Race, T. 2001. The breeding system of Ziziphus celata, a rare endemic plant of the Lake Wales Ridge, Florida: implications for recovery. Biological Conservation. 100: 207-213.

Reports

1995. An Action Plan To Conserve the Native Plants of Florida. The Center for Plant Conservation and the Southeast Environmental Research Program at Florida International University.

Burkhart, S.; Race, T.; Weekley, C. Not dated. Breeding System of a Rare Florida Endemic, Ziziphus celata. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Race, Tammera. 1994. Proposal for Introduction of Ziziphus celata onto Lake Arbuckle State Forest. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Race, Tammera; Weekley, Carl. 1996. Some Observations on the Flowering Phenology of Ziziphus celata (Rhamnaceae). Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Race, Tammera; Weekley, Carl; Godt, Mary Jo. 1998. Final Report on Ziziphus celata: Genetics Evaluation, Plant Material Propagation, and Augmentation (Ridge State Forest-Arbuckle and Walk-in-Water Tracts). Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Race, Tammera; Weekley, Carl; Godt, Mary Jo; Morrison, Steve. 1998. Final Report on Ziziphus celata: Genetics Evaluation, Plant Material Propagation, and Site Preparation (Mountain Lake Site). Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

USFWS. 1989. Recovery plan for eleven Florida scrub plants. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.64.

USFWS. 1996. Recovery Plan for Nineteen Central Florida Scrub and High Pineland Plants (revised). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.134.

USFWS. 1999. South Florida Multi-species Recovery Plan. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region.

Weekley, C.; Race, T. 1999. 10 year status report on Ziziphus celata, a federally listed endemic plant of the Lake Wales Ridge, Florida. Vero Beach, FL: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. p.28. Unpublished report.

Weekley, C.; Race, T. 2000. The Breeding System of Ziziphus celata Judd and D.W. Hall (Rhamnaceae), a Rare Endemic Plant of the Lake Wales Ridge, Florida, USA: Implications for Recovery. Lake Placid & Lake Wales, FL: Archbold Biological Station and Bok Tower Gardens. p.20.

Weekley, Carl, ; Race, Tammera; Kettenring, Karen. 2000. Interim Report on Ziziphus celata Breeding System Study. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl. 1995. Proposal for the Experimental Manipulation of a Declining Ziziphus celata Population at Lake Arbuckle State Forest to Explore Recovery Options. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl. 1996. Interim Report on Experimental Manipulation of a Declining Ziziphus celata Population at Lake Arbuckle. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl. 1996. Ziziphus celata Monitoring Report. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl. 1999. Ziziphus celata Breeding System Project Annual Report. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl; Kubisiak, T.L.; Race, Tammera. 2000. New Marker Guided Restoration of Ziziphus celata Judd & D.W. Hall (Rhamnaceae), a Federally-Listed Endemic Plant of the Lake Wales Ridge, Florida. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl; Race, Tammera. 1997. Ziziphus celata Annual Monitoring Report. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl; Race, Tammera. 1998. Ziziphus celata Annual Monitoring Report. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.


  This profile was updated on 4/29/2011
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