Scadoxus multiflorus seed

Jim Lykos
Thu, 07 Sep 2006 01:21:54 PDT
Hi John,

I can verify that Scadoxus puniceus seed is eaten by birds and emerges clean and whole from their dropings. Last November a crop of Scadoxus berries had rippened on five umbels and I noted that I would collect and sow them the following weekend. 
When I went to collect them I was amazed to find that only 7 berries were left (out of 120+). Near the Scadoxus plants I found a few berries on a low  brick fence in bird droppings - a few more were found in a nearby garden bed alongside the fence line - in bird droppings?

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: John Grimshaw 
  To: Pacific Bulb Society 
  Sent: Thursday, September 07, 2006 5:20 PM
  Subject: Re: [pbs] Scadoxus multiflorus seed

  Jim McKenney wrote:

  The bright orange fruits are ornamental;
  > has anyone ever seen a plant of any of the Scadoxus species where most of
  > the flowers have set fruit? That must be a spectacular sight!

  I have and they are.

  What is puzzling to me is the question of seed dispersal in amaryllids with 
  a fleshy berry and rather soft-skinned seed. Scadoxus, Haemanthus, Clivia 
  have such fruits, turning from green to red when ripe, a characteristic of 
  bird-dispersed fruits. The berries are also within the gape size of most of 
  the 'usual suspects' of fruit-eating birds in Africa. But can the seeds 
  withstand the action of the crop before either regurgitation or defecation? 
  The distribution of Scadoxus multiflorus and S. puniceus over huge tracts of 
  Africa demonstrate that dispersal is effective and potentially 
  long-distance. The range of Clivia is probably restrained by the 
  availability of suitable habitat. Does anyone know if there are studies on 
  dispersal in wild Clivia?

  Even more intriguing is the case of certain Crinum, especially the East 
  African plains species C. kirkii, which develops a large red capsule 
  containing the usual lumpy, greenish seeds. When ripe this object is very 
  conspicuous and would be expected to be an attractant to dispersers. But a 
  soft crinum seed would not last long in the gizzard of an ostrich or ground 
  hornbill, which are obvious potential candidates. Perhaps the red coloration 
  is unimportant in this case and the seeds just roll away in the usual Crinum 
  way as the capsule opens. I do not know how big Crinum seeds in dry places 
  move more than a few feet from their parent, but can conceive that a rodent 
  or primate might pick them up and carry them a short way (those in damp 
  habitats, including coastlines, obviously have flotation options).

  John Grimshaw

  Dr John M. Grimshaw
  Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens

  Sycamore Cottage
  Nr Cheltenham
  Gloucestershire GL53 9NP


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