The Gunnera gallery:
Fruits

Images and an introduction to the plant family Gunneraceae

Plant parts

Biogeography

Fossils

'Gunneralikes'

 

The fruits of Gunnera are small single seeded fleshy drupes, normally red or orange, and only 1-2mm in diamter. This color and fruit type suggests that they are adpated to bird dispersal, although few field observations are available to indicate which birds are dispersing Gunnera.

The presence of Gunnera on islands, especially volcanic Islands, such as Hawaii, and the young volcanic archipelago of Vanuatu, where G. macrophylla (Pseudo-Gunnerapopulations are found, implies long distance dispersal by birds.

The taste of these fruits to humans is acrid and asorbic. Nevertheless, the fruits of G. macrophylla (Pseudo-Gunnera)  a reported to be consumed by some groups in New Guinea as a stimulant.


 The fruits of Gunnera tinctoria are apparently appetizing to squirrels, as pictured here in Golden Gate Park (photos courtesy of Kate Fuller). This may help to explain some of the dispersal of free-growing naturalized populations of Gunnera in greater San Francisco Bay Area.

 

 

Subgenera

Biogeography

Fossils

Some literature