by Imeña Valdes et al.
Nypa fruticans flowering at Montgomery Botanical Center.
Many plants at botanic gardens originate from faraway places, and gardens usually grow very few plants of the same species. This can all but thwart a species chances of reproduction, especially if it relies on specific pollinators and is unable to reproduce alone (i.e., self-incompatible). One solution botanic gardens rely on is hand pollination to ensure reproductive success of their living collections, which is important for conservation efforts.
Nypa fruticans has been growing at Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) in South Florida since 1984, but for years it required hand pollination to produce viable fruit. From 2017 onward, open-pollinated, viable fruits have been observed. Nipa is native to estuarine mangrove vegetation in India and Sri Lanka, throughout Southeast Asia, and even Northern Australia. Thus, nipa presents an interesting case study of pollination in a botanic garden.