Rate and timing of vegetative growth, flowering and fruit development of Persoonia virgata (Proteaceae) – Publication

Abstract of a publication based on research funded in part by the Australian Flora Foundation

L. M. Bauer, M. E. Johnston and R. R. Williams
School of Agriculture and Horticulture, The University of Queensland Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia.
Aust. J. Bot., 2001, 49, 245–251

Persoonia virgata R.Br. is harvested from the wild in both its vegetative and flowering stages. There has been no systematic study published on the annual growth cycle and anecdotal reports are conflicting. The growth pattern, flowering and fruit development of P. virgata in its natural habitat was recorded monthly for two consecutive years. The main growth period occurred in late spring–mid-autumn (November–May) when the shrubs were producing little or no fruit. Very few open flowers were observed at the site over the 2 years, with only 6.7 and 12.7% of stems bearing open flowers in January and February 1996, respectively. A second study of flowering on container-grown shrubs showed that individual flowers were open for only 2–5 days, with individual stems taking 3-8.5 weeks to complete flowering. The main fruit growth period occurred from May to September, and in June and July 1996 the total fruit set per stem was 41.6 and 36.1%, respectively. The fruit took at least 6 months to develop during which vegetative growth was minimal. The harvesting of plants in the flowering or fruiting stages removes the annual seed crop, which may reduce regeneration of this obligate seed regenerator and threaten its survival after fire.