A request for help in locating spiderworts in Florida

Do you know where the Callisia live?
See below for more photos to help with ID.
Polyploid complexes within the genus Callisia Loefl.,  section Cuthbertia (Commelinaceae)
By Iwan Molgo
Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida in Gainesville

Callisia is a genus in the Commelinaceae and is part of the 39 genera within the subfamily Commelinoideae (Burns et al., 2011). In this project, I would like to focus on Callisia section Cuthbertia, which consists of three species that are endemic to the Southeastern U.S.: C. graminea, C. ornata and C. rosea.

Giles (1942) documented that there are two types of Callisia graminea that differ in morphology, cytology and geography. One type is a diploid which occurs in the sand hills of both North and South Carolina. The other type is a tetraploid which occurs along the coastal plain from the Carolinas to Florida. Giles also found rare triploids and hexaploids within C. graminea.

My Ph.D. project will investigate the relationships between C. graminea (diploid, triploid, tetraploid and hexaploid), C. ornata (diploid) and C. rosea (diploid) through both morphological and molecular analyses. I will address the follow questions:
  1. What is the relationship of Callisia sect. Cuthbertia within the genera Callisia, Tripogandra, Gibasis and Tradescantia?
  2. What is the relationship between the diploid, tetraploid and hexaploid forms of Callisia graminea? Are these allopolyploids or autopolyploids?
  3. Has a hybridization event already occurred between these species or is it ongoing?
  4. What are the relationships between the three species? Which are most closely related? Is there a significant difference among them?
The goal of this research project is to elucidate the systematic relationships between C. graminea, C. ornata and C. rosea . From a conservation standpoint, it is important to know what the relationships are among these taxa, particularly because they are endemic to the Southeastern U.S..

I need to locate as many populations of the following plants as possible, Callisia rosea in particular, from which I must collect tissue samples and voucher specimens for DNA analysis and study of morphological characteristics. If you have seen these plants, or know where to find them, I would be very grateful if you would contact me, imolgo@ufl.edu, with their location.

Florida roseling (Callisia cordifolia)

Florida roseling (Callisia cordifolia) (Photos: Hayden and CICY)

       Basketplant (Callisia fragrans); not native
Grassleaf roseling (Callisia graminea)
Grasslike; flowers not overtopping the leaves.
Florida scrub roseling (Callisia ornata) (Photo: Bob Pederson and Molgo)
Not grasslike and flowers overtopping leaves. Roots should be woolly.
Creeping inch plant (Callisia repens); not native
        Piedmont roseling (Callisia rosea) (Photo: Molgo and Namestnik)
Leaf blades much broader (4 -15 mm)
Tahitian Bridal veil (Gibasis geniculata)
Not native but is sold as ornamental.


tammy sons said…
we love flowering perennials! the native's are so nice to grow in flower gardens.they do not require alot of fragile care like some flower bulbs ive ordered before. Our favorites are the brown and black eyed susan perennials. they are vibrant and exotic with the centers so dark around the egg yolk yellow flowers.

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