Counting Blessings: Warea amplexifolia
By Jackie Rolly with contributions from Juliet Rynear
|Above & below: counting W. amplexifolia at Seminole State Forest|
Habitat loss is the primary threat to this species. Sadly, only a handful of W. amplexifolia populations remain within its historical range. Of the extant populations, only two others are similarly located on land that is protected from development. For this reason, the Warea Tract is not open to the public, but FNPS members are always welcome to assist with monitoring and counting.
Clasping warea is known or assumed to have been extirpated from several sites in Orange, Lake and Osceola Counties. Its preferred habitat - dry, open, upland Pinus palustris woods underlain with well-drained, white sandy soil - has been largely usurped by groves of citrus from Leesburg to Haines City. Populations of the plant in areas including Orlando, Tavares, and Leesburg are isolated and vulnerable to the pressures of development.
|Seminole State Forest - Warea Tract Location|
|Clasping Warea inflorescence|
The plant's attractive flowers predispose it to being picked by vandals and curios passers-by, and taken for use as a cultivated ornamental. Additionally, because this species is an annual, and extremely restricted in both range and numbers, it is vulnerable to disturbance and natural disasters. The failure of any one of the remaining populations to set seed in the fall could result in the extirpation of that population and a further reduction in the already small genetic variability of the species. Should you happen to find this plant in an undocumented area, please contact Juliet Rynear, FNPS Conservation Chair, at http://www.fnps.org/committee/conservation.
Edited and posted by Laurie Sheldon
Counting photos by by Ken Ricklick, member of the FNPS Tarflower Chapter
Map derived from http://www.dep.state.fl.us/lands/ARC/Agendas/2011/Dec/ITEM_9Seminole%20State%20Forest.pdf by Laurie Sheldon
Warea close-up by Shirley Denton, from http://www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/plantimage/Warea_amplexifolia4.jpg