Piratebush

Piratebush, Buckleya distichophylla in the Sandalwood family (Santalaceae), is a rare shrub in Southeastern North America with the only remaining populations growing in small pockets of the southern Appalachians of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.  In collaboration with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, we are gathering data on its pollinators and fruit dispersers, population dynamics such as size-class structure, sex ratio, habitat preferences, and host species—as it is a hemiparasitic plant—in an effort to conserve this threatened species.

Habitat

Piratebush habitat (the piratebush is the light green shrub on the bottom left), Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, Fall 2011.

<>

Spring 2012. Steep, south-facing slope on Poor Mountain. Piratebush in the background.

Steep, south-facing slope on Poor Mountain, piratebush in the background with tired–but happy–student pirates, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 21, 2012.

Spring foliage and flowers Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia April 2012.

Spring tree foliage/flowers, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 2012.

____________

Reproduction

Female Flower April 13, 2012. Appears to be pollen on the stigma. (click on picture and zoom in)

Female Flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 13, 2012.


Female Flower, April 13, 2012. Appears to be pollen on stigma (click on picture and zoom in.)

Female Flower, there appears to be pollen on stigma (click on picture and zoom in), Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 13, 2012.

<>

Male Flowers. April 14, 2012.

Male Flowers, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 14, 2012.

<>

Pollinator on male flower, April 13, 2012.

Possible pollinator on male flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 13, 2012.

<>

Pollinator on male flower, April 13, 2012.

Possible pollinator on male flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 13, 2012.

<>

Pollinator on male flower, April 13, 2012.

Possible pollinator on male flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 13, 2012.

<>

Pollinator on male flower, April 13, 2012.

Possible pollinator on male flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 13, 2012.

<>

Pollinator on male flower, April 14, 2012.

Possible pollinator on male flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 14, 2012.

<>

Pollinator on male flower, April 13, 2012.

Possible pollinator on male flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 13, 2012.

<>

Pollinator on male flower, April 13, 2012.

Possible pollinator on male flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, April 13, 2012.

<>

MaleFlower

Staminate flower, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co. Virginia Spring 2013

PiratebushFruits (2)

Fruit collected from Poor Mountain population early June 2014, Roanoke Co. Virginia.

<>

Piratebush fruit, September 23, 2011.

Piratebush fruit, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, September 23, 2011.

 <>

Piratebush_Illustration

_______________

Fruit/Seed Dispersal and Herbivory

Portions of the pericarp chewed off and discarded, no evidence of seed anywhere to be found. This occurrence was found several times, Poor Mountain, September 23, 2011.

Portions of the pericarp chewed off and discarded, no evidence of seed anywhere to be found. This occurrence was found several times, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, September 23, 2011.

<>

Fruit damage, Poor Mountain, September 23, 2011.

Fruit damage, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, September 23, 2011.

<>

Evidence of Herbivory, Sheets Mountain, September 19, 2011.

Evidence of Herbivory, Sheets Mountain, Boutetourt Co, Virginia, September 19, 2011.

Evidence of Herbivory, Sheets Mountain, Boutetourt Co. Virginia, September 19, 2011.

Evidence of Herbivory, Sheets Mountain, Boutetourt Co. Virginia, September 19, 2011.

<>

These bark wounds seemed to be not uncommon on the lower portions of the branches, possible herbivory, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, September 23, 2011.

These bark wounds seemed to be not uncommon on the lower portions of the branches, possible herbivory, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, September 23, 2011.

<>

These bark wounds seemed to be not uncommon on the lower portions of the branches, possible herbivory, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, October 8, 2011.

These bark wounds seemed to be not uncommon on the lower portions of the branches, possible herbivory, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, October 8, 2011.

<>

These bark wounds seemed to be not uncommon on the lower portions of the branches, possible herbivory, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, October 14, 2011.

These bark wounds seemed to be not uncommon on the lower portions of the branches, possible herbivory, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, October 14, 2011.

<>

Other Observations

Evidence of fire in piratebush habitat, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, October 14, 2011.

Evidence of fire in piratebush habitat, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, October 14, 2011.

<>

Stem damage similar to this was often observed. It appears to be caused by fungus and/or insects, though it is unclear if these would be the cause of stem death or not, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, October 14, 2011.

Stem damage similar to this was often observed. It appears to be caused by fungus and/or insects, though it is unclear if these were the cause of stem death or not, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, October 14, 2011.

<>

Detail of piratebush bark on young stem, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, October 12, 2011.

Detail of piratebush bark on young stem, Poor Mountain, Roanoke Co, Virginia, October 12, 2011.

<>

 

 

Pollination studies

Controlled pollination studies

Night pollinator field work

Night pollinator field work

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Responses to Piratebush

  1. Mary Rhoades says:

    Great pictures! Thanks for giving permission to mention this website in my article on Poor Mtn Preserve for the Va Native Plant Society newsletter.

  2. Pam says:

    I was hiking on Poor Mt today and found many Pirate Bush fruit (seeds?) on the ground. It is a shame that the picture on the orientation board does not match the actual plant. I have been hiking there for years and was always on the lookout for a much bigger leafed plant. At any rate, do you have any information on how to plant the seed/fruit?
    Thanks.

    • Ryan Huish says:

      Thanks for your message, Pam. Yes, there are many Piratebush fruits on the ground this year, which isn’t always the case! We are thinking it is due to the fact that it is a large mast year for the oaks, and the animals that usually pilfer the fruits/seeds have enough acorns to satisfy them. We are currently at the beginning of a germination trial study to gain more information about the best way to germinate them. Because it is on a preserve, we had to get special permission to harvest the fruits/seeds though. Keep in contact with me and I can keep you updated on our research!

  3. Saw Pirate bush on poor mountain a year ago. Great thing to preserve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s