Thursday, August 3, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Tennessee Leafcup

TENNESSEE LEAFCUP, Polymnia laevigata Beadle
Aster Family (Asteraceae)
Submitted by Roger Hammer

Polymnia laevigata,  photo by Roger Hammer

The lower leaves of this species reach 6"–12" long and 4"–6" wide and are deeply and raggedly cut with pointed lobes, reducing in size up the stem with few or no lobes. The 3'–6' stems are glabrous (smooth). The flower heads are about ½" wide, subtended by a whorl of leafy bracts, and with 3-toothed ray florets and male disk florets.

It flowers in June and July in damp, shaded woodlands of Jackson County in the Florida panhandle. The best place to see it is to hike the trails in Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, Florida (Jackson County).

Polymnia relates to the mythological Greek muse Polymnia, daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne and the inspirational goddess of sacred music and dance. The name laevigata means “smooth” for the glabrous stems. The common name relates to where the type specimen was collected in 1897 (Franklin County, Tennessee) by botanist Chauncery Delos Beadle (1866–1950). In Florida, it is a state-listed endangered species due to its limited range.

Roger is a member of the FNPS Dade Chapter and is currently working on a new Falcon Guide titled Complete Guide to Florida Wildflowers, due to be released in Spring 2018. His other wildflower guides include Florida Keys Wildflowers (2004), Everglades Wildflowers (2nd edition, 2014), and Central Florida Wildflowers (2016).

USF Plant Atlas: Polymnia laevigata
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Editor's note: This week's wildflower has a special meaning in my life right now, as I am moving from Florida to Chattanooga, Tennessee at the end of this month. I am sorry to say that I will no longer be editor of the FNPS Blog, but until a new editor is appointed, I will continue post when I have the time between packing boxes and moving furniture, so please forgive me if Wednesday's Wildflower doesn't post every week. I will leave it up to the new social media director to decide what and when to post. But, I do plan to contribute as a guest blogger after I am settled in my new home, as Florida native plants and the Florida Native Plant Society is forever in my heart and my mind... Donna 

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