Marrón bacora, Caribbean Shrub, a Federal Candidate Species for Listing Under Endangered Species Act
Contact: Lilibeth Serrano Vélez 787-505-4397 ó 787-851-7297 EXT 212
A Caribbean shrub with fruits resembling tomatoes, Solanum conocarpum or Marrón bacora, is now a federal candidate for listing as a threatened or endangered species.This plantis only found on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Several organizations are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to save this shrub,” Edwin Muñiz, Field Supervisor for the Service’s Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, says. “Now that the species is added to the candidate list, we can accomplish more with conservation agreements that provide regulatory assurances to landowners and others taking actions to help this plant.”
People and organizations currently working with this species include the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Virgin Islands National Park, and private landowners. Marrón barroca has been propagated by experts in St. John, horticulturists at the St. George Village Botanical Garden in St. Croix, and at the Fairchild Tropical Garden in Coral Gables, Florida.
Service biologists estimate there are 198 wild Marrón barroca shrubs on the island of St. John. Only eight populations of this species are known, two located on private lands and six located in the Virgin Islands National Park.
Although the majority of the wild individuals are located on protected lands, populations located on the border of the Virgin Islands National Park and private property may be threatened by habitat modification caused by the increasing development pressures on St. John. An abundance of feral animals also poses a threat this shrub’s seedlings and their germination. However, the biggest threat to the species is its lack of reproduction, as evidenced by the absence of seedlings in the wild and a population composed mostly of mature individuals.
Marrón bacora is a flowering shrub, which can reach about nine feet in height. It belongs to the Solanaceae ‘nightshade” family of flowering plants which includes tomatoes and eggplant. Marrón bacora produces a cone-like fleshy fruit.
The Service will review the status of this shrub annually, as it does with all candidate species, and will list it as a threatened or endangered species when funding and workload priorities for other listing actions allow. Should the status of marrón bacora sufficiently improve as a result of recovery efforts, the Service could determine that the protection of the Endangered Species Act is not needed.
The mission of the Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, please visit the Service’s websites at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/ or http://www.fws.gov.