|Florida Nature: Endangered Plants (4)|
Milkpea (Galactia smallii)- Small's milkpea is endemic to the
pine rocklands of Miami-Dade County. This plant is a small,
trifoliolate, perennial legume with small, purple flowers and a
prostrate habit. Small's milkpea usually flowers during the summer,
however numerous flowers may bloom following a burn any time of the
year. Small's milkpea was listed as an endangered plant due to loss of
habitat in the
caused by residential and commercial development.
Harper's Beauty (Harperocallis flava)- A perennial, yellow-flowered lily found in the Florida panhandle, Harper's beauty has been over collected. Also, its numbers have suffered from human and animal trampling, off-road vehicle use, utility corridor and highway maintenance, and encroachment by other vegetation. This lily's entire range is within Apalachicola National Forest, mostly in areas under Forest Service management but also on a few private lands. The species continues to spread along a highway right-of-way passing through the Forest, possibly as a result of mowing schedules that allow Harper's beauty seed formation and dispersal while controlling the encroachment of competing plants.
Beach Jacquemontia (Jacquemontia reclinata)- Beach jacquemontia is native and endemic to the increasingly rare and destroyed coastal grassland, coastal dune, coastal beach and coastal scrub habitats along the southeastern coast of Florida, where it is found in only Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. Beach jacquemontia is a member of the Morning Glory family and is a creeping vine with attractive, white, small to medium star-shaped flowers which are pollinated by insects. The leaves are small, slightly oval-shaped, and pointed. As coastal development in southeastern Florida continues, this plant's habitat continues to be destroyed and the plant itself is now extremely rare and threatened. Beach jacquemontia does best in full sun.
Scrub Blazing Star (Liatris ohlingerae)-The scrub blazing star is an endangered species endemic to scrub in Highlands and Polk Counties in Florida. The scrub blazing star belongs to the aster family, a genus of perennial herbs that live in open, usually fire-maintained, habitats. The scrub blazing star was listed as an endangered species in 1989 due to habitat loss. The principal cause of decline of central Florida upland vegetation is conversion of habitat for agricultural, commercial, residential, and recreational purposes. The scrub blazing star is a long-lived perennial herb having a thickened root. Its stems are erect, usually unbranched, and it can grow up to 3 feet tall. Its leaves are fleshy and narrow and generally 3 to 8 cm long. Scrub Blazing star's flower heads are well separated on the stem and are bright purplish-pink in color.
Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia)- Pondberry, also called Southern spicebush, is a medium-sized shrub that grows in swampy depressions in lowland forests. Pondberry is a perennial, deciduous shrub that grows 1 1/2 to 6 1/2 feet tall. It spreads byrunners that extend just below the surface and take root to produce new plants. This shrub produces pale yellow flowers in February or March before its leaves emerge. Pondberry leaves are long, oval, untoothed and droop from the branches. The lower surface of each leaf is slightly hairy. The leaves have a strong sassafras-like aroma when crushed. Pondberry produces bright red elliptical fruits during late summer; fruits mature during the fall.
Scrub Lupine ( Lupinus aridorum)- Scrub lupine is a woody perennial herb, and is the only upright, pink-flowering lupine in Florida. On stems that can reach three feet in height are long leaves that are pointed at the top and rounded at the base. Both leaves and stems are covered by thousands of tiny silver hairs. In bloom between March and May, the flowers of Lupinus aridorum are a pale-pink color, and appear in groups of 5 to 14 on flowering racemes. The fruit of this species is found in June, and is long, woody, and elliptic in shape, tapering to a sharp tip. Lupinus aridorum is endemic to Polk, Orange, and Oceola Counties in central Florida where it occurs on the Mt. Dora Ridge in Orange and on the Winter Haven Ridge in Polk County
Britton's Beargrass (Nolina brittoniana)- Brtitton's beargrass is a perennial herb that is a member of the Agavaceae family. It has the typical agave-like long, stiff leaves in a grass-like clump that rise from a bulbous stem. The youngest leaves are erect while the older leaves (up to 6 feet long, 0.5 inch wide) spread on the ground. The flowering stalk reaches from 3 to 6 feet tall, and is topped with a large, showy cluster of small while flowers. Britton's beargrass flowers from March to May, but fruits, leaves, and growth habit are distinctive all year. Male and female flowers are usually borne on separate plants. Both plants are very conspicuous during flowering. The fruits are a papery, symmetrical, 3-lobed capsule, persisting through the summer Britton's beargrass occurs in Hernando, Highlands, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties of central Florida, in a wide range of habitat types, from relatively open scrub to hammocks with closed canopies. All of the habitats where Britton's beargrass occurs are considered upland sites where soil is droughty and infertile, and are fire-dependent and fire-maintained ecosystems.
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