Canary Island date palms, Phoenix canariensis, invading a remnant riverine eucalypt forest in south-eastern Australia: Processes and patterns of recruitment

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Abstract

The recruitment processes and resulting distribution pattern of bird-dispersed Canary Island Date Palm, Phoenix canariensis (family Arecaceae) in a riverine forest setting are described. All palms on a near-urban peninsula of the Murrumbidgee River near Hay, New South Wales were GPS mapped and classified into height-dependent age categories. The distribution of the plants was examined spatially in relation to possible source palms and in relation to elevation with regard to flooding levels.
Successful recruitment is subject to a range of environmental parameters, primarily palatability to vectors and seedling mortality due to lack of moisture, frost or grazing by herbivores. If a seedling survives that critical period of the first 18 months, long-term success is (almost) guaranteed, unless catastrophic events (bushfires, prolonged flooding) intervene. Based on the findings, a conceptual model for the recruitment of Phoenix canariensis palms is provided. Even though the palms produce fruit for much of the year (March–December), the time window for successful recruitment is restricted to a period from August to mid-September with short shoulder periods on either side.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalCunninghamia
Volume20
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2020

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