Posts Tagged ‘postfire-flowering’

Postfire flowering: Narcissus assoanus

March 23rd, 2023 No comments

Spectacular postfire flowering of Narcissus assoanus 7 month after fire (Costur 8/2022, Castelló, E Spain).

More on: postfire flowering | Narcissus | regeneration | resprouting | fire ecology 

Torre de l’Espanyol postfire

March 16th, 2020 No comments

On June 26, 2019 a wildfire started in Torre de l’Espanyol (Ribera de l’Ebre, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain) and burned ca. 5000 ha. I recently visited the area (8.5 months postfire); the regeneration was still relatively low, as the winter has been quite dry, but many species were resprouting and some seedlings were starting to emerge. Here are some of the plants that were flowering: Platycapnos (Fumaria) cf. spicata, Muscari neglectum ssp. atlanticum, Fritillaria lusitanica (=F. boissieri, F. pyrenaica ssp. hispanica), Ophrys lupercalis (=O. forestieri; O. bilunulata was also flowering but not pictured below).


More on postfire flowering:

Fast postfire flowering

November 22nd, 2018 No comments

Some plants flower very quickly after fire. The advantage of this postfire-flowering is probably the increased resource availability and the reduced competition for pollination in recently burned areas. Here are some examples of fast postfire flowering (click the image to enlarge).

I’d be happy to add more examples, so please feel free send me more pictures (by email or twitter), with at least the species name, and if possible, the time since fire and locality.

Monocots: Asparagales


Monocots: Other orders (Arecales, Poales, Pandanales, Liliales)




Details of each photo (alphabetic order)

  • Argemone albiflora (Papaveraceae), after the Walker Fire on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada near Mono Lake in California, by Jesse Miller (@Texosporium)
  • Asphodelus ramosus (Asphodelaceae), 1 month postfire, Valencia, Spain by JGP
  • Bulbostylis paradoxa (Cyperaceae) one month after a fire, Costa Rica, by JGP
  • Calopogon multiflorus (Orchidaceae), 13 days postfire, Florida, by Todd Angel (@ecologyangel)
  • Calystegia macrostegia (Convolvulaceae), Santa Barbara, California, by Erin Hanan (@erinjhanan)
  • Chamaerops humilis (Arecaceae), 1 month postfire, eastern Spain, by JGP
  • Cyrtanthus contractus (Amaryllidaceae), 3 days postfire, Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, South Africa, by Heath Beckett (@HeathBeckett)
  • Echinacea paradoxa (Asteraceae), Missouri, by Jesse Miller (@Texosporium)
  • Gladiolus illyricus (Iridaceae), eastern Spain, by Toni Bolufer
  • Iris lutescens (Iridaceae), 1 month postfire, Valencia, Spain by JGP
  • Lapiedra martinezzi (Amaryllidaceae), eastern Spain, by JGP
  • Mairia coriacea (Asteraceae), SW Cape, by H. Luzeyer (from @TheFynbosTrail)
  • Narcissus triandrus subsp. pallidulus (Amaryllidaceae), central Spain, by JGP
  • Rodophiala advena (Amaryllidaceae), Chile, by JGP
  • Scilla autumnalis (Asparagaceae), 1 month postfire, eastern Spain, by JGP
  • Stenanthium densum (Melanthiaceae), 50 days postfire, Florida Longleaf Pine Savanna
  • Urginea maritima (Asparagaceae), 1 month postfire, eastern Spain, by JGP
  • Vellozia pyrantha (Velloziaceae), 2 weeks postfire, Chapada Diamantina NP, Bahia, Brazil by A.A. Conceiçao (J Nat Cons 2018)
  • Watsonia borbonica (Iridaceae), 8 months postfire, slopes of the Table Mountain, South Africa, by Jakob’s Vineyards (@JakobsVineyard)
  • Xanthorrhoea (Asphodelaceae), by Susie Green (@SusieGreen4)


Llutxent 1 month postfire

September 18th, 2018 No comments

In early August a wildfire ignited by a lightning burned about 3200 ha, affecting mainly the municipalities of Lutxent, Gandia and Pinet (in Valencia, Spain). One month later I visited the area, and below are the main plant species that were already resprouting. There were also two species already flowering, both geophytes: Urginea (Drimia) maritima and Scilla autumnalis; they showed flowers but not the leaves (they are protanthous: flowering before the foliage appears [1]). There were also many seedling germination from the seedbank, but they were too small to identify. 

The area affected by the fire include a small marginal population of Quercus suber (cork oak; el surar de Pinet) that we had studied few years ago [2]. This oak was also resprouting (epicormically).

(click to the photo to enlarge)


Notes and references

[1] The terminology of the flower/leaf phenology is a bit confusing; here is my understanding following Simpson (Plant Systematics, 2011) and Lamont & Downes (2011, Pl. Ecol. 212):

· Synanthous (syn= same time): flowers and leaves develop at the same time
· Hysteranthous: flowering occurring out of phase with leafing
· Protanthous (pro= early): flowers develop before the leaves
· Seranthous (ser= delayed): flowers develop after the leaves

[2] Pausas J.G., Ribeiro E., Dias S.G., Pons J. & Beseler C. 2006. Regeneration of a marginal Cork oak (Quercus suber) forest in the eastern Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Vegetation Science 17: 729-738. [pdf | doi | wiley]

More on postfire flowering | Quercus suber (cork oak)

Thanks to E. Laguna for his help on the species identification.


Postfire flowering: Gladiolus illyricus

April 4th, 2017 2 comments

On the 4th of Sep 2016, a wildfire burnt 800 ha in Xàbia, north of Alacant (Marina Alta, eastern Spain). About 7 months later (March 2017), Gladiolus illyricus shows a spectacular blooming:


21-03-2017 005_sm
Gladiolus illyricus. Photos by: Toni Bolufer (top), Juli G Pausas (bottom)

For more examples of postfire flowering, see:

Postfire flowering: Lapiedra martinezii

October 8th, 2016 No comments

Lapiadra martinezzi
Lapiedra martinezzi (Amaryllidaceae) flowering after fire in eastern Spain. This is also an example of an hysteranthous geophyte (flowering before appearing the leaves).

Upper left: From La Granadella (Benitatxell, La Marina Alta, Alicante), one month after a high intensity wildfire that occurred the 5 Sept 2016.
All others: in a Pinus halepensis open woodland that was burned (at low intensity) in April 2016 (for firefighting training) near Valencia; photo taken the 29th Sept 2016. There were many individuals (hundreds to thousands) flowering and some with fruits. We did not find any flower in the surrounding unburned area.

For other species with fire-stimulated flowering, see:


Postfire resprouting of Chamaerops humilis

March 18th, 2016 No comments

“A few, but only a few species of palms, are, like our Coniferae, Quercineae, and Betulineae, social plants : such are the Mauritia flexuosa, and two species of Chamaerops, one of which, the Chamaerops humilis, occupies extensive tracts of the ground near the Mouth of Ebro and in Valencia …” — Alexander von Humboldt (1848)

Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean dwarf palm) is the only native palm in continental Europe, and the northernmost naturally occurring palm in the world. It is native to the western Mediterranean Basin, occurring along the Mediterranean cost of Spain (as mentioned by Humboldt), Portugal, France, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The other palm occurring in the Mediterranean Basin is Phoenix theophrasti, a rare palm growing in the Crete island and in the southern Turkey [MedTrees].

Humboldt probably did not know that Chamaerops humilis resprouts very quick after fire (at that time fire was not considered as part of the natural processes). The resprouting of this species does not necessary come from new dormant buds (as in most typical resprouters) but from the normal apical buds protected from the fire by the leaf bases in the stem.The first resprouting leaves often show the typical burned-brown-green pattern of the photo below. This is because in palms (and in all monocots), the meristem is at the base of the leaves (more protected), and thus even burned leaves can still grow from the base and showing the upper part burned. In addition, C. humilis can generate basal suckers from an underground rhizome. C. humilis often flowers very quickly after fire, together with the first leaves (upper photo). Overall it is very resilient to recurrent fires.

Chamaerops humilis (one of the few ‘social palms’ following Humboldt) 2-3 months postfire in the Valencia region (eastern Spain; photos: JG Pausas)


Humboldt, A. von (1848). Aspects of nature (original title: Ansichten der Natur, 3rd ed).


Postfire flowering: Narcissus

May 2nd, 2015 No comments

Spectacular postfire flowering of Narcissus triandrus subsp. pallidulus in a recently burnt Erica australis heathland (Bustares, Guadalajara, Spain, April 2015).

Narcissus postfire


Postfire blooming of Asphodelous

April 5th, 2014 No comments

The 4th of February, 2014, a forest fire burnt ca. 200 ha in Segorbe, near Valencia, eastern Spain. Two months later (1st April 2014), few plants had started to resprout, others had started to germinate, but there were three species that had resprouted very quickly and were already flowering: Asphodelous cerasiferus (= A. ramosus; Spanish: gamón), Iris lutescens, and Asparagus horridus; the first showed an spectacular blooming (pictures below).

Spectacular postfire bloom of Asphodelous cerasiferus in Segorbe, near Valencia, Spain (photos by MC Castellanos & JG Pausas, two months after fire).

Fire-stimulated flowering

May 25th, 2013 No comments

Some plant species flower profusely and quickly after fire (fire-stimulated flowering). Compared with resprouting or postfire seeding, this trait is relatively unknown outside of South Africa and Australia [1, 2]. It is considered one of the adaptations of some resprouting species to live in recurrently burn environments. There are some of these species that rarely flower without a fire (obligate postfire flowering) while others can flower in the absence of fire but they produce more flowers after it (facultative postfire flowering). One example I had the chance to observe recently in Central America is Bulbostylis paradoxa (Cyperaceae; Figure below); it is a very flammable plant that grow in savannas and dry forest of Central/South America and the Caribbean. Local foresters told me that they have never seen this species flowering in absence of fire, and that they start flowering next day after the fire.

Figure: Bulbostylis paradoxa (Cyperaceae) one month after a fire in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica (fotos: J.G. Pausas, May 2013).

[1] Bytebier B., Antonelli A., Bellstedt D.U., Linder H. P. 2011. Estimating the age of fire in the Cape flora of South Africa from an orchid phylogeny. Proc. R. Soc. B, 278: 188-195.

[2] Lamont B.B., Downes K.S. 2011. Fire-stimulated flowering among resprouters and geophytes in Australia and South Africa. Plant Ecol. 212: 2111-2125.