Patterns and predictors of fleshy fruit phenology at five international botanical gardens

Amanda S. Gallinat, Richard B. Primack, Charles G. Willis, Birgit Nordt, Albert Dieter Stevens, Robert Fahey, Alan T. Whittemore, Yanjun Du, Zoe A. Panchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Premise of the Study: To improve our understanding of the patterns and drivers of fleshy fruit phenology, we examined the sequence, patterns across years and locations, and drivers of fruiting times at five botanical gardens on three continents. Methods: We monitored four stages of fruit phenology for 406 temperate, fleshy-fruited, woody plant species in 2014 and 2015. Key Results: Across all gardens, ripe fruits were present from May to March of the following year, with peak fruiting durations ranging from under 1 week to over 150 days. Species-level first fruiting and onset of peak fruiting dates were strongly associated with one another within sites and were more consistent between years and sites than the end of peak fruiting and last fruiting date. The order of fruiting among species between years and gardens was moderately consistent, and both peak fruiting times and fruiting durations were found to be phylogenetically conserved. Conclusions: The consistent order of fruiting among species between years and locations indicates species-specific phenological responses to environmental conditions. Wide variation in fruiting times across species and in the duration of peak fruiting reinforces the importance of understanding how plant phenology impacts dispersers and monitoring the health and consistency of these interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1824-1834
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Joseph Kirkbride, Christine Carrier, Luca Russo, and Lucy Zipf for assisting with monitoring, Pam Templer and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript, and the Arnold Arboretum for permission to conduct field observations. This material is based upon work supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to Gallinat under Grant No. DGE-1247312.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Botanical Society of America


  • collections
  • fruit monitoring
  • phylogeny
  • ripening
  • temperate
  • woody plant


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