South Florida pine forests have a diverse endemic flora that has evolved under the influence of recurrent fire. We studied the response of Jacquemontia curtisii Peter ex Hallier f. (pineland clustervine), a perennial herbaceous member of that flora, to experimental fires during wet and dry seasons. In each of three populations, three treatments were applied: wet-season (June) prescribed fire, dry-season (January) prescribed fire, and an unburned control. Flowering, fruiting, and seedling establishment were followed for up to one year. Mortality of adult plants was twice as great after wet-season burns than after dry-season burns even though fire temperatures were higher in the dry-season burns. Within a season of burning, mortality was greater for the more severely burned plants or the smaller plants. Wet-season burns produced over three times more flowers than not burning, in spite of mortality of more than half the plants. Burning stimulated germination from the soil seed bank. Dry-season burns resulted in five times more seedlings than wet-season burns and more of these seedlings were alive one year after the burn. It is likely that the long-term viability of Jacquemontia curtisii populations is favored by diversity in fire season and severity.
Additional publication details
Effects of wet- and dry-season fires on Jacquemontia curtisii, a South Florida pine forest endemic