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Friday, June 20, 2014

Two Florida scrub endemics


The welcome sign for Hickory Lake Scrub.
I visited Hickory Lake Scrub, a 57-acre preserve,  in May and I loved that I found quite a number of plants that I'd never seen before. A scrub habitat is not to be rushed through.  To begin to appreciate it, you need to slow down —way down.


Besides the plants there is a rich ecosystem filled with critters.  It's fun to examine the tracks in the sandy soil to guess what has taken place.

Here are two endemic plants that I found:

Scrub morning glory (Bonamia grandiflora)

Scrub morning glory with its pale lavender flowers.

Bonamia grandiflora distribution
The scrub morning glory or lady's nightcap is obviously a member of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), but it belongs to a different genus than the majority of  the morning gloriesBonamia not Ipomoea. This is the only species in this genus native to the US.

It is threatened and endangered and various sources state that there are only 100 populations remaining. Most of them have been lost due to development and fire suppression. This plant is not only adapted to fire with its deep roots, but it requires the fire to clear out overhead vegetation

Isn't it gorgeous? 

For more information read the profile at The Center for Plant Conservation. It's interesting to note that "Bonamia grandiflora is fully sponsored and the primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is Bok Tower Gardens."

Hickory Lake scrub is only a few miles from Bok Tower.

 Feay's palafox (Palafoxia feayi)

Feay's palafox, a shrubby member of Asteraceae.

Palafoxia feayi distribution
The daisy family (Asteraceae)  is one of the largest plant families, but there are not many members that are shrubs or trees. The most common in Florida is the groundsel tree (Baccharis halimifolia), which most of us know, but I wasn't thinking of this family when I spotted this shrub.

The flower head doesn't have the typical petal-like ray florets, just the central disk florets, but they were so pretty. I was relieved when I eventually figured it out. I love the cool palafox name—who knew? It was named for a Spanish general who fought against Napoleon.

It is endemic to Florida, but is not listed as threatened. 

There are 3 species native to Florida, but Texas palafox (P. taxana) has only been vouchered for 1 county in the Panhandle. The coastal plain palafox (P. integrefolia) is a little more widespread: it also occurs in Georgia and is more often found in the native plant trade, but is not as shrubby as Feay's palafox. 



Read Craig Huegel's profile of Palafoxia feayi and the IRC's listing including the 37 conservation areas where it occurs.

The scrub habitat is critical

Visit the scrub conservation areas and be sure to sign the book or register your presence so managers have real numbers to report back to justify their conservation. Please let your elected representatives know that you want these habitats to be preserved and vote "Yes!" on Amendment #1 in November.

Have enjoyed your scrub today?

Written and posted by Ginny Stibolt
Photos by Ginny Stibolt

1 comment:

  1. How does one differentiate between Bonamia and Ipomea? There are morning glories growing on the beach in Ormond by the Sea. They are more purple than pink but I don't know how to tell the difference.

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