Insect Pollinators of Three Rare Plants in a Florida Longleaf Pine Forest
As a result of human activity, longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Miller) forests in the southern United States have been lost or drastically altered. Many of the plant species that historically occupied those forests now persist only as remnants and are classified as threatened or endangered. In order to safeguard such species, a better understanding of their pollination ecology is needed. We identified insect visitors and potential pollinators of Harperocallis fluva (McDaniel) (Amaryllidaceae), Macbridea alba Chapman (Lamiaceae) and Scutellaria floriduna Chapman (Lamiaceae) that occur in longleaf pine habitat on the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida. We observed that potential pollinators of H. fluva were Halictidae, of M. alba were bumble bees (Apidae: Bombus), and of S. floridana were Megachilidae and Halictidae. However, the rates at which these insects visited the flowers were very low. Our results raise important concerns about how forest management practices affect the survival of rare plants, as well as their pollinators.