Lindera melissifolia [Walt.] Blume (pondberry) is an endangered plant that occurs in seasonally flooded wetlands and on the edges of sinks and ponds. It is a stoloniferous, clonal shrub that grows to a maximum of two meters in height and is dioecious, with small yellow flowers that bloom in spring. Pondberry occurs in six southern states of the USA, but it has always been rare, and knowledge of its ecology and reproductive biology is sparse. The species has been affected by habitat destruction and alteration, especially timber cutting, clearing of land, and drainage or flooding of wetlands. Female clones are smaller than male clones, and are sometimes absent from stands. Hand-pollinated flowers did not set more fruit than open-pollinated flowers, and flowers covered with mesh bags produced no fruit. Seed production is erratic, and as in many other clonal species, few seedlings occur even when seed production is high. In addition, stem dieback is widespread, but monitored populations do not appear to be declining. Three fungal pathogens were isolated from stems. Six insect species were found in association with pondberry but none appear to be limiting to the plant. Individual stems can be easily transplanted and multiply rapidly. Opportunities for dispersal are very limited now due to land use of areas surrounding pondberry populations and to changes in hydrology. Introduction of plants to new areas will be necessary if the species is to recover.

Key words: bottomland hardwoods, endangered species, Lindera melissaefolium, Lindera melissifolia, pondberry