Floridian Nature

Learn about Florida's beautiful and unique nature.





Florida Nature: Endangered Plants (3)
beautiful pawpaw plant found only in FloridaBeautiful Pawpaw (Deeringothamnus pulchellus)-The pine flatwoods of Babcock-Webb are home to the largest known population of the very rare beautiful pawpaw. The beautiful pawpaw is endemic to Charlotte and Lee counties. Flowering (usually from late March through May) tends to occur only after a fire or mowing of new growth. The beautiful pawpaw has fragrant white flowers and a 3-inch long fruit resembling a lumpy bean pod. The greatest threat to the beautiful pawpaw is destruction of habitat for residential development.

Rugel's pawpaw plant, an endangered flowering plant in FloridaRugel's Pawpaw (Deeringothamnus rugelii)- Rugel's pawpaw is a low shrub with a stout taproot.  The fruits are cylindrical berries with pulpy flesh,1 to 3 inches long, and yellow-green when ripe.  Seeds are about the shape and size of brown beans. The annual or biennial stems are 4 to 8 inches tall, rarely taller. The plant re-sprouts readily from the roots after the top is destroyed by fire or mowing.  The absence of such disturbance leads to the plant's eventual demise.  This pawpaw bears flowers with straight, oblong, canary yellow petals. Rugel's pawpaw is presently known primarily from an area near New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Florida.  There are presently twenty-nine known populations of which half are on public lands. The general habitat type for the Rugel's pawpaw is poorly-drained slash pine-saw palmetto flatwoods.

Garret's mint an endangered plant in FloridaGarrett's Mint (Dicerandra christmanii)-Garrett's mint is a small fragrant shrub smelling of eucalyptus. It reaches a height of up to 1.3 feet tall. The stems are square with low ridges. Both stems and leaves, which are pitted with oil glands, have a strong mint odor. The narrowly oblong leaves are about 1 inch long, have smooth edges, and grow opposite each other. The vegetative and flowering branches are stiff as they rise from the branching woody base. The tap root is also branched with extensive, spreading, fibrous roots. Blooming in July - November, the flowers of Garrett's mint, or Garrett's scrub balm as it is sometimes called, grow in whorls around the square stem with 1 - 3 flowers per whorl. The white or cream colored flowers have purple spots and lines, are 2-lipped with rounded lobes and have sharply bent tubes. The stamens have bright yellow anthers that extend beyond the flower. Garrett's mint is endemic to Florida, and is only found in Highlands County at this time. Having a extremely small range, all five known populations are located between Lake Jackson and Lake Istokopga.  Dicerandra christmanii is found within openings in oak scrub habitat.




longspurred mint, an endangered plant in FloridaLongspurred Mint (Dicerandra cornutissima)- Dicerandra cornutissima, or longspurred mint, is a strongly aromatic plant. It is a short-lived perennial that grows from seed. It can grow up to 1.6 feet tall with the erect, non-woody flowering shoots growing from a woody base. The linear leaves are about 1/2 of in an inch long, covered with conspicuous glands, and with entire margins. The leaves are borne opposite of one another, often with two smaller leaves at each node. The purplish-rose flowers of this species distinguish it from others in the genus, with deep purple markings, a whitish throat, and a style with few, if any, hairs. These flowers are borne in groups in the axils of the leaves, and are usually found on the upper parts of the stems. The two-lipped, 7mm long petals form a tube which is bent at a 90-degree angle in the middle. The anthers are tipped by a 1.2 mm long spur, hence the common name. Longspurred mint flowers in September and produces fruit in the form of four small nutlets. This species reproduces only from seed. Longspurred mint grows in the xeric upland habitats of sandhill and scrub of Marion and Sumter counties. The longspurred mint is found only in open areas in sand pine scrub or oak scrub, and the ectones between these and turkey oak communities. It can colonize the edges of road rights-of-way

Lakela's mint, and endangered plant in FloridaLakela's Mint (Dicerandra immaculata)-Lakela's mint is a small, fragrant, perennial shrub that reaches a height of 50 cm. It was listed in 1985 as federally threatened, and faces a high risk of extinction because so much of its habitat has been lost and its populations are so fragmented. This species is known from only one wild population. Lakela's mint can be differentiated from others in the Dicerandra genus by its lavender-rose colored flower that has no spots on it. When grown in open sun, its growth is bushy; in the shade it becomes lax. The primary branches arise from a stout, deep, woody-branched taproot. The flowers which appear primarily September through November, are formed in whorls of 1 to 3 flowers in the leaf axils. The tiny flowers are less than 0.8 inches long, rose-purple with no spots or lines. Lakela's mint, a Florida endemic, is restricted to sand scrub habitats found on ancient dunes formed along former ocean shorelines in Indian River and St. Lucie Counties, being confined to a area one-half mile wide by three miles long.

Snakeroot, or Wedgeleaf Eryngium, an endangered plant in FloridaSnakeroot (Eryngium cuneifolium)- Snakeroot, or Wedgeleaf Eryngium, as it is also called, is a short-lived herbaceous perennial, with a basal rosette and flowering scapes. It possesses a deep taproot but rarely re-sprouts following fire. Perfect, small, greenish flowers (10-15) are borne on head-like umbels, the heads displayed on a diffusely branching inflorescence. Wedgeleaf eryngium is endemic to the southern tip of the Lake Wales Ridge, found only in the southern half of Highlands County. Plants flower for about a month in late summer or fall, producing seeds in the fall. Germination occurs in the winter and spring. Although some seeds can germinate shortly after maturation, most seeds remain dormant for a year or more, germinating in subsequent winter seasons.
Follow us on Facebook
Advertise | Privacy Statement | Bookstore | Video |Contact | Alaska Nature