Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia)
July 31, 1986
For more information on Pondberry, contact Rebecca Peak at email@example.com or 501-513-4475
Pondberry is a deciduous shrub, growing from less than 1 foot (30 cm) to, infrequently, more than 6 feet (2m) in height. Shrubs are sparsely branched, with fewer branches on smaller plants. The pondberry frequently propogates by rhizomes and vegetative sprouts rather than seeds, and can form large colonies. They produce clusters of small, yellow flowers in early spring prior to leaf development from buds produced on the previous years' growth.
The berries that give the pondberry it's name ripen to red by fall.
The pondberry is generally associated with wetland habitats such as bottomland hardwoods in the interior areas and the margins of sinks, ponds and other depressions in more coastal sites. It is shown to be tolerant of regular and prolonged flooding. The plants generally grow in shaded areas but may also be found in full sun.
Why is it Endangered?
Habitat loss is the main reason for listing, as is fragmentation and conversion of lands surrounding pondberry populations. Clearing and logging activities
have extirpated pondberry at many sites throughout its range.
The construction of dams and alteration of hydrology may also affect the pondberry. In the absence of regular flood regimes, pondberry may be outcompeted by other vegetation.
The recently discovered laurel wilt disease is highly lethal to infected pondberry
plants and poses an emerging threat to pondberry. This rapidly spreading disease is
known to affect at least one pondberry population (in Effingham County, Georgia)
and has potential to spread to otherwise protected populations.
Some pondberry sites are protected by agencies and conservation groups, but the majority of populations are privately owned and threatened by clearing and conversion to agriculture. Arkansas has three protected pondberry sites, and one of the largest populations of pondberry in the state (and possibly range-wide) is in the mixed ownership St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area, which is regularly flooded.
Pondberry has been germinated in the lab, but attempts to transplant seedlings across its range have met with limited success.
Range in Arkansas: