CPC Plant Profile: Tumamoc Globeberry
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Plant Profile

Tumamoc Globeberry (Tumamoca macdougalii)

One of the pistillate flowers of Tumamoca macdougallii, with five long, white petals, a pistil, and no stamen. Photo Credit: Lynda Pritchett-Kozak
Description
  • Global Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Cucurbitaceae
  • State: AZ, MX, SI
  • Nature Serve ID: 157181
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/14/1986

This desert-growing perennial vine is a member of the gourd family, with a tuberous root and foliage that is made up of climbing tendrils. When the foliage of this plant is touched, a fetid smell is given off. Flowers are a greenish-yellow and separated by gender. Male flowers outnumber female flowers. When the small fruits reach maturity, they are red and resemble tiny watermelons. Birds relish the fruits and seek them out even in cultivation.

Participating Institutions
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Updates
Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/20/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted Desert Botanical Garden to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

  • 10/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Continue to collect seeds that represent the genetic diversity of the species for ex situ storage.

  • 10/01/2020
  • Propagation Research

Desert Botanical Garden has only 47 field-collected seeds, and 9 plants from seed in cultivation. These nine plants have produced 68 seeds over the course of 10 years. Plants flower profusely. but evidently are not pollinated readily. Hand pollination does not appear to enhance fruiting. The plants do not appear to tolerate transplanting, or disturbance to roots. Plans are in effect to enhance the seed collection through field collections and improved hand pollination techniques on cultivated plants.

  • 10/01/2020
  • Living Collection

Desert Botanical Garden has only 47 field-collected seeds, and 9 plants from seed in cultivation.

  • 10/01/2020
  • Seed Collection

Desert Botanical Garden has only 47 field-collected seeds, and 9 plants from seed in cultivation. These nine plants have produced 68 seeds over the course of 10 years. Plants flower profusely. but evidently are not pollinated readily. Hand pollination does not appear to enhance fruiting. The plants do not appear to tolerate transplanting, or disturbance to roots. Plans are in effect to enhance the seed collection through field collections and improved hand pollination techniques on cultivated plants.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

In 1992 there were 78 known U.S. populations and many populations in Sonora, Mexico. In 1991 new surveys in Sonora, Mexico indicate this species to be much more common and widespread than previously thought.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Plants are threatened by urban expansion and associated pressures created by recreation and off-road vehicle use (USFWS 1986). Natural threats include predation by javelina which eat the tubers. In addition, farming and pesticide application are threats

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

There are 78 populations in Sonoran Desert scrub and Sinaloan Thornscrub, (southern Arizona to Sonora, Mexico). Because of its wide range, non-specific habitat requirements and known populations, this species was delisted in 1993 (USFWS 1993).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Desert Botanical Garden has only 47 field-collected seeds, and 9 plants from seed in cultivation. These nine plants have produced 68 seeds over the course of 10 years. Plants flower profusely. but evidently are not pollinated readily. Hand pollination does not appear to enhance fruiting. The plants do not appear to tolerate transplanting, or disturbance to roots. Plans are in effect to enhance the seed collection through field collections and improved hand pollination techniques on cultivated plants.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

As land ownership varies, current management practices vary. Plants are being monitored on the Tohono O'odham Nation land. Population monitoring has been consistent up until the mid 1990's when this species was delisted (Reichenbacher 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, Toolin 1992, USFWS 1993).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

There is a critical need for pollination biological studies, additional surveys, investigation into population demographics and vegetation associations, and germination and establishment requirements. Plants are found in desert grassland areas that may receive periodic fires. Studies related to fire need to be conducted. Seeds germinate readily, but establishment during the early stages is poor.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Continue to collect seeds that represent the genetic diversity of the species for ex situ storage.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Tumamoca macdougalii
Authority Rose
Family Cucurbitaceae
CPC Number 4354
ITIS 22424
USDA TUMA
Common Names Tumamoc globe-berry | Tumamoc globeberry
Associated Scientific Names Tumamoca macdougalii
Distribution Distribution is widely scattered. Land ownership is private, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Saguaro and Organpipe National Monument, and Coronado National Forest (USFWS 1986, 1992)
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S3
Mexico *FR83
Sonora
Habitat

Plants are found along washes and arroyos below 3,000 ft. elevation in shade of supporting shrubs (USFWS 1986). They are exceptionally difficult to locate, even during active growth, as the foliage intermingles with neighboring species (USFWS 1986). When dormant, they are almost impossible to locate.

Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are largely unknown, however, this species is associated with : Larrea divaricata, Acacia constricta, Carnegia gigantea, Opuntia pheacantha, Opuntia versicolor and Ambrosia deltoidea (USFWS 1986). It is believed that species such as Larrea and Ambrosia act as nurse plants, providing shade to T. macdougalii (Reichenbacher 1984).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Butterflies & Moths
moth Confirmed Pollinator Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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