Litsea aestivalis - (L.) Fern.
Pondspice
Other Common Names: pondspice
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Litsea aestivalis (L.) Fern. (TSN 18206)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.136111
Element Code: PDLAU08010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Laurel Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Laurales Lauraceae Litsea
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Litsea aestivalis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3?
Global Status Last Reviewed: 03Dec2012
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec2012
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Uncommon, coastal plain from Maryland to Florida, usually in low numbers when found. Threatened by alterations in hydrology and by suppression of natural fire regimes. Also threatened by invasive exotic plants, feral hogs and by Red bay or Laurel wilt disease, a rapidly spreading fungal disease for which it is a documented host. This disease is causing widespread mortality of red bay (Persea borbonia) and (Persea palustris) trees in coastal SC, GA, and FL and is spreading rapidly. Some detrimental effects of laurel wilt on Litsea aestivalis have also been documented (Hughes 2011, Surdick & Jenkins 2010).
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Florida (S2), Georgia (S2), Maryland (S1), North Carolina (S2S3), South Carolina (S3), Virginia (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: From Florida north irregularly along the Atlantic Coastal Plain to Maryland; reports from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky (e.g., Fernald, 1950; Godfrey & Wooten 1981) are all false, according to John Kartesz (discussion 3/98).

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: This (E) is an estimated, not calculated AOO value (CWN Nov. 28, 2012).

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Wide ranging but infrequent, with < 90 excellent (A) or good (B) ranked occurrences rangewide (NatureServe central database as of November 2012). Apparently most common in the Carolinas and Georgia.

Population Size Comments: Often in low numbers (<50) where found.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)

Overall Threat Impact: High - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Ditching and draining of wetland habitat, and lowering of natural water table by pumping of surficial aquifer. Also, lack of fire, ORV use and water pollution with high nutrient water (e.g. from forestry, agricultural, or household sources) are threats which have impacted some occurrences. Also threatened by invasive exotic plants, and feral hogs. Red bay wilt or Laurel wilt disease, a fungal disease transmitted by an introduced ambrosia beetle, has also been documented in this species (Hughes et al. 2011, Johnson et al. 2007, Surdick & Jenkins 2009, Surdick & Jenkins 2010). This disease is causing widespread mortality of red bay (Persea borbonia) and (Persea palustris) trees in coastal South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and is spreading rapidly. Some detrimental effects of laurel wilt on Litsea aestivalis have also been documented (Hughes et al. 2011, Surdick & Jenkins 2010).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Some sites lost to past drainage of wetlands. Also threatened by invasive exotic plants, and feral hogs. Laurel Wilt occurs in some populations (Surdick & Jenkins 2010). Also, lack of fire, ORV use and water pollution with high nutrient water (e.g. from forestry, agricultural, or household sources) are threats which have impacted some occurrences.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 50-70%

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: From Florida north irregularly along the Atlantic Coastal Plain to Maryland; reports from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky (e.g., Fernald, 1950; Godfrey & Wooten 1981) are all false, according to John Kartesz (discussion 3/98).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Alachua (12001), Clay (12019), Columbia (12023), Dixie (12029), Duval (12031), Leon (12073), Madison (12079), Marion (12083), Okaloosa (12091), Pasco (12101), Putnam (12107), St. Johns (12109), Taylor (12123), Wakulla (12129)
MD Wicomico (24045)
NC Bladen (37017), Brunswick (37019), Carteret (37031), Craven (37049), Cumberland (37051), Gates (37073), Hoke (37093), New Hanover (37129), Onslow (37133), Sampson (37163), Wayne (37191)
SC Beaufort (45013), Berkeley (45015), Charleston (45019), Colleton (45029), Georgetown (45043), Horry (45051), Jasper (45053), Kershaw (45055), Orangeburg (45075)
VA Isle of Wight (51093), York (51199)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Western Lower Delmarva (02080109)+, Lower James (02080206)+
03 Blackwater (03010202)+, Ghowan (03010203)+, Middle Neuse (03020202)+, White Oak River (03020301)+, New River (03020302)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+, Black (03030006)+, Northeast Cape Fear (03030007)+, Lumber (03040203)+, Waccamaw (03040206)+, Carolina Coastal-Sampit (03040207)+, Coastal Carolina (03040208)+, Wateree (03050104)+, Lake Marion (03050111)+, Santee (03050112)+, Cooper (03050201)+, South Carolina Coastal (03050202)+*, Four Hole Swamp (03050206)+*, Salkehatchie (03050207)+, Broad-St. Helena (03050208)+, Bulls Bay (03050209)+, Lower Savannah (03060109)+, Calibogue Sound-Wright River (03060110)+, Lower Ogeechee (03060202)+, Canoochee (03060203)+, Ogeechee Coastal (03060204)+, Lower Ocmulgee (03070104)+, Little Ocmulgee (03070105)+, Altamaha (03070106)+, Ohoopee (03070107)+, Satilla (03070201)+, Cumberland-St. Simons (03070203)+, St. Marys (03070204)+, Nassau (03070205)+, Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Daytona - St. Augustine (03080201)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+*, Econfina-Steinhatchee (03110102)+, Aucilla (03110103)+, Upper Suwannee (03110201)+, Alapaha (03110202)+, withlacoochee (03110203)+, Little (03110204)+, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+, Santa Fe (03110206)+, Apalachee Bay-St. Marks (03120001)+, Upper Ochlockonee (03120002)+, Lower Flint (03130008)+, Ichawaynochaway (03130009)+, Spring (03130010)+, Choctawhatchee Bay (03140102)+, Yellow (03140103)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Deciduous, aromatic shrub in the laurel family (Lauraceae).
Technical Description: Stems with twigs slender, pale-brown, zig-zag, the branches spreading, the bark of new shoots reddish-brown, sometimes tomentose at first. Leaves alternate, spreading on short slender petioles 5 mm long or less, the blades leathery (somewhat like leaves of willow-oak), lanceolate to oblong or narrowly or broadly rounded, the margins entire, slightly thickened, the bases acute or acuminate, yellow-green and smooth save for villosity (spreading, long, crisped hairs) along the midrib beneath (sometimes also on the petiole). Winterbuds ovoid, valvate, to about 3 mm long, stalked, solitary or paired at the branch tips or from spur tips, these expanding to form cup-like involucres below the small umbels of male or female flowers. Flowers with mostly 6, spreading, yellow sepals, these broadly elliptic-oblong or obovate ca 3.0-3.5 mm long. Stamens mostly 9, the anthers with 4 valves (flaps), opening inward or laterally. Female flowers with 1 superior ovary, this surrounded by usually 9 short, fleshy staminodes. Fruit one to four, on stalks (pedicels) to 4 mm long, these jointed to peduncles (inflorescence stalks) about as long; body of drupe nearly round, 4-6 mm long, minutely roughened, red.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Superficially similar to Lindera spp. but differing in having 4 anther flaps (versus 2 for Lindera), in its smaller, rounder fruit, and in its much smaller and more leathery, narrower leaves. The twigs and foliage lack spicy odor.
Duration: PERENNIAL, Long-lived
Ecology Comments: Will sprout after fire.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen
Habitat Comments: Found on margins of swamps, limesink ponds, bay heads, small ponds, pitcher plant savannas, natural doline ponds and in low wet woodlands. This species occurs on wet, sandy or peaty, and quite acid soils. Like Lindera, it may form thickets and thus, while spotty in distribution, may be abundant locally. Common associated woody species would be Red Bay, Virginia Bay, Gallberry, Myrtle, various heaths, Pond Pine, Pond Cypress, Loblolly Bay (Kral 1983). On the Delmarva Peninsula, Wicomico county, Maryland, it was found growing in an open woodland pond surrounded by pine oak forest. The associated species were Carex striata, Dulichium arundinaceum, Proserpinaca pestinata, Scirpus cyperinus, Rhexia virginica, Juncus repens, Leucothoe racemosa, Vaccinium atrococcum, Cephalanthus occidentals, Clethra alnifolia, Rhododendron viscosum and Panicum spretum.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Clearcutting of the mercantible species might favor this plant. Burning would not affect it adversely in that, like most species of bogs and pocosins, it would respond vigorously with new shoots. Site preparation involving removal of brush would of course eliminate it, unless done in strips. Greatest difficulty for a species with high soil moisture requirements such as this one is through drainage of the habitat (Kral 1983) or reduction of the water table of natural coastal plain doline ponds by pumping of superficial aquifer. Some detrimental effects of laurel wilt on Litsea aestivalis have also been documented (Hughes et al. 2011, Surdick & Jenkins 2010). Seed collected of not more than 10% of available seed from a healthy population could be added to conservation seed banks in coordination with the Center for Plant Conservation (e.g. Bok Tower Gardens).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Dec2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Broaddus, Lynn (1991), rev. L. Morse (1994, 1998), rev. K. Gravuer (2008), rev. C. Nordman (2012)
Management Information Edition Date: 12Feb2013
Management Information Edition Author: Nordman, C.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 09Nov1992
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): C. ANNABLE

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Batson, W.T. 1972. Genera of the southeastern plants: A guide to the genera of native and commonly introduced ferns and seed plants of the southeastern United States excluding peninsular Florida. Batson, W.T., Columbia, South Carolina. 157 pp.

  • Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. Corrected printing (1970). D. Van Nostrand Company, New York. 1632 pp.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiii + 590 pp.

  • Godfrey, R.K., and J.W. Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and wetland plants of southeastern United States: Dicotyledons. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. 933 pp.

  • Hughes, M., J. A. Smith, A. E. Mayfield, and M. C. Minno. 2011. First report of laurel wilt disease caused by Raffaelea lauricola on pondspice in Florida. Plant Disease 95: 1588.

  • Johnson, J., L. Reid, B. Mayfield, D. Duerr, and S. Fraedrich. 2007. New disease epidemic threatens redbay and other related species. Georgia Forestry Commision, South Carolina Forestry Commission, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Division of Forestry, and USDA Forest Service. Online. Availablie: http://www.state.sc.us/forest/idwilt.pdf (Accessed 2008)

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kral, R. 1983c. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2, Athens, GA. 1305 pp.

  • McCollum, J.L., and D.R. Ettman. 1987. Georgia's protected plants. Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Social Circle, GA. 64 pp.

  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, and C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.

  • Small, J.K. 1933. Manual of the southeastern flora. Two volumes. Hafner Publishing Company, New York.

  • Surdick, J.A. and A.M. Jenkins. 2010. Population surveys of rare Lauraceae species to assess the effect of laurel wilt disease in Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, Florida.

  • Surdick, J.A., and A.M. Jenkins. 2009. Pondspice (Litsea aestivalis) population status and response to laurel wilt disease in northeast Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, Florida.

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