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Keywords:

  • Caribbean ;
  • Ceratina ;
  • conservation ;
  • Cordia gerascanthus ;
  • Cuba ;
  • hurricane ;
  • Lasioglossum ;
  • Turbina corymbosa ;
  • wild population over-collection

The geographical distribution, population structure and pollination ecology are key aspects in the conservation and management of rare orchids. Here, we address these aspects and the main threats affecting the endangered Cuban orchid Broughtonia cubensis. This rewardless orchid is self-compatible, but pollinator dependent. However, seed production can be negatively affected by insect-mediated selfing. Three species of small bee (genera Ceratina and Lasioglossum) act as pollinators. As in the case of other nectarless orchids, we detected two species of plant producing large amounts of nectar in the area, the floral morphology of which closely resembles that of B. cubensis. The simultaneous flowering of these species could positively affect the reproductive success of B. cubensis. Nonetheless, the fitness of this orchid in natural conditions is low, possibly related to strong pollen limitation. To the problems arising from reduced fitness is added the fact that its historical distribution range has been greatly reduced in recent years. Throughout this study, we have detected dramatic reductions in the population sizes, in some cases as a result of human plundering, but also as a consequence of hurricanes. Based on the results of this study, we propose some guidelines to manage and conserve this orchid. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, 172, 345–357.