|Year to Date|
|Samples submitted by other DPI sections||1,765||2,635|
|Samples submitted for botanical identification only||113||194|
|Total Samples Submitted||1,878||2,829|
|Specimens added to the herbarium||53||130|
Compiled by Richard E. Weaver, Jr., Ph.D., and Patti J. Anderson, Ph.D.
This section identifies plants for the Division of Plant Industry, as well as for other governmental agencies and private individuals. The Botany Section maintains a reference herbarium with over 10,000 plants and nearly 1,400 vials of seeds.
Eulophia graminea Lindl (No common name) (a genus of approximately 200 species, found almost entirely in the Old World tropics, with a single species widespread in tropical and subtropical America). Orchidaceae. This terrestrial species is the most recent of the 12 exotic orchids naturalized in Florida. E. graminea was first reported in 2007 from a residential garden in Miami. It has since been found in a number of locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, usually in sunny habitats. This orchid is native over a wide area in Asia, from Pakistan to Japan, and has become naturalized in Australia. The pseudobulbs are partly buried and occur singly in young plants or in clusters in older ones. Each mature pseudobulb produces a single shoot with three to five grass-like leaves which die in the fall or winter. Several inflorescences appear in succession during the spring and summer, either before the leaves or with them. The inflorescences are branched and stand from 0.5-1.5 m tall. They bear as many as 60 small flowers, from 1.5-2.5 cm across, with greenish or purplish petals and sepals and a white lip marked with rose-pink spots. The lateral sepals spread horizontally, and a nectar-producing spur is present at the base of the flower. Another species, Eulophia alta (L.) Fawcett & Rendle, is native in central and southern Florida, but is not likely to be confused with E. graminea since it is a much more robust plant with broad leaves and large flowers in which the lip is pink or purple and the lateral sepals are held erect. Although it is too early to determine the potential invasiveness of E. graminea, it has definite weedy tendencies and would probably be cold-hardy anywhere in Florida and perhaps other states in the Southeast. (Broward County; B2009-178; Patttan Bissoondial, USDA; 17 April 2009.) (Pemberton et al. 2008.)
Mimosa quadrivalvis L. var. angustata (Torr. & A. Gray) Barneby (Sensitive briar) (a genus of 480 species, from tropical and warm regions of the Americas). Leguminosae (Fabaceae). This sprawling, vine-like native plant is perennial in Florida, but can die back to the woody roots in northern counties. The ribbed stem is armed with numerous recurved prickles. Its bipinnately compound leaves have pinnae with four to eight pairs of tiny, oblong to linear leaflets that grow up to 7.5 mm long and 1.7 mm wide with prickles along the petiole and rachis. The pinnae are “sensitive” in that they close when touched; they also close at night. The showy flower is a pink to pinkish-purple head, up to 1.5 cm across, on an armed peduncle. The fruits are also covered with prickles. Although it is similar to M. strigillosa, another native wildflower often used as a ground cover, the prickles covering much of this species make it much less likely to be planted in home gardens. M. quadrivalvis occurs in dry sites with sandy soils, including forest edges, roadside clearings and open forests where it contributes to the diet of gopher tortoises. (Pinellas County; B2009-176; Bobbe A. Rose; 17 April 2009.) (Miller and Miller 2005; Norcini and Aldrich 2009; http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.)
Randia formosa (Jacq.) K. Schum. (Jasmin de rosa, blackberry jam fruit) (a genus of about 100 species of shrubs and trees, from tropical and warm regions of the Americas). Rubiaceae. Unlike most members of this tropical to subtropical genus, R. formosa usually lacks spines on its upright stem and can be cultivated in temperate climates. It is native to the West Indies and from Panama to Peru and Brazil. This shrubby plant with reddish-brown stems to 4 m tall has quite variable leaves up to 7 cm in length that may be glabrous or have appressed pubescence on the undersides. The leaves may be sessile or have a petiole up to 1 cm long, and the leaf tips may be rounded or acute. In contrast, this species almost always has persistent triangular stipules (that may appear spine-like) and leaf blades that are bright green above and paler green beneath. The fragrant, solitary flower has a white corolla with a slender tube up to 10 cm long and five ovate to oblong lobes. The fruit, for which the plant is prized, is oblong to oval and 2-3 cm long (roughly olive-sized and shaped) with very sweet, black pulp. This shrub can be cultivated much like its relative, the gardenia, to provide a fragrant ornamental as well as an edible addition to the landscape. (St. Lucie County; B2009-144; Kenneth L. Hibbard; 1 April 2009.) (Huxley 1992; Staples and Herbst 2005; http://www.crfg.org/fg/xref/xref-r.html; http://toptropicals.com.)
Rumex crispus L. (Curly dock, yellow dock) (a genus of 200 temperate species, especially in the Northern Hemisphere). Polygonaceae. This species, found in fallow fields, waste places, ditches, roadside swales and other disturbed places, is native to Eurasia but has naturalized throughout the United States and most of the rest of the world (although it is not reported from Greenland). A tap-rooted perennial growing as tall as 1.5 m, curly dock can be recognized by its basal rosette of leaves with wavy or “crisped” margins and an unbranched, ridged stem that turns reddish with age. As is typical of members of this family, leaves along the stem have a sheath, called an “ocrea” that encircles the stem. In this species, the ocrea is deciduous and might not be apparent late in the growing season. The leaves are progressively smaller toward the stem apex, but the leaf margins remain crisped. Dense inflorescences cover the upper half of the stem with tiny yellow-green flowers that turn deep red with age. The fruit is a reddish-brown achene, 2-3 mm wide and 1.5-2 mm long. The success of this cosmopolitan weed is enhanced by several characteristics of its seeds: they are produced in massive quantities; they germinate and establish new plants quickly, yet remain viable for decades in the soil; and they can survive disbursal by wind or water. In addition, the taproot allows the plant to survive over winter and regrow after having been cut. There is some evidence that the root can resprout after damage from plowing. Like most of the genus, called docks or sorrels, this species is sometimes eaten or used medicinally to treat a number of ailments. Roots of several Rumex species have been used to make dyes, especially in the color range of yellow to orange to brown. The related Rumex acetosa, sour dock or garden sorrel, is cultivated and eaten as a cooked green vegetable and in salads. (Submitted by the general public; 24 March 2009.) (Austin 2004; Lewis 2006; Pye and Andersson 2008; http://www.calflora.org; http://www.efloras.org; http://www.missouriplants.com.)
Symphytum officinale L. (Comfrey) (a genus of 35 species, native to Europe from the Mediterranean to the Caucasus). Boraginaceae. This useful as well as ornamental perennial is native throughout most of Europe, but it is commonly cultivated in temperate climates and has naturalized widely. It can grow quite rampantly, spreading from the thick, black tuberous roots, and the erect, rough-hairy stems may grow to nearly a meter tall. The coarse, narrowly ovate, pointed leaves are as much as 30 cm long, and they form a loose, basal rosette; the stem leaves are smaller. All are rough to the touch due to their loose covering of short, stiff hairs, and rubbing against them may cause dermatitis in sensitive people. The somewhat bell-shaped, nodding, pale yellow or pinkish flowers are about 1.5 cm long and are held in terminal, drooping cymes. This plant has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, sometimes for ornament, but more often for its medicinal properties. The leaves and roots contain a substance, allantoin, that, when prepared in a poultice or an ointment, seems to hasten the healing of burns or wounds by increasing the rate of cell growth. Extracts of the leaves and roots have been used to treat a variety of disorders, including varicose veins, rheumatism and muscle ailments. Comfrey tissues also contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic to the liver, so no part of the plant should be taken internally. More recently, the leaves, either whole or chopped up and applied as a mulch, have been used as a green manure by organic gardeners. Comfrey is occasionally invasive, but it is not adapted to a hot and humid climate, so it should not be a problem here in Florida. (Hillsborough County; B2008-175; Howard L. Wallace; 17 April 2009.) (Mabberley 1997; http://www.floridata.com.)
Xanthorhiza simplicissima Marsh. (Yellowroot) (a genus with a single species, endemic to the eastern United States). Ranunculaceae. This is a distinctive plant, found on shady stream banks and other moist places throughout the eastern United States from Maine to Texas, but it is most common in the Southeast. It is rare in Florida, having been reported only from Santa Rosa, Walton, Jackson and Gadsden counties in the Panhandle, and is included on the state’s list of endangered species. Yellowroot is the only woody plant in the Crowfoot or Buttercup Family. It is 50-80 cm tall and strongly stoloniferous, making a tangle of erect, mostly unbranched stems, which if scraped, reveal a bright yellow inner bark. The inner bark of the roots is also bright yellow, giving rise to both the Latin and the common names. The leaves are clustered at the tips of the stems and are pinnately compound with a slender petiole about as long as the blade. The five leaflets are strongly toothed and often deeply cleft, giving the foliage a lacy effect. Attractive but not showy flowers are produced on lax racemes in the spring before the leaves have expanded. They are about a centimeter across, with conspicuous maroon or brownish maroon sepals and inconspicuous yellow, knob-like petals. Yellowroot is an attractive plant that should be cultivated more frequently. It makes an excellent, but rather tall groundcover with interesting flowers in the spring, attractive lacy foliage during the growing season, and beautiful orange autumn coloration, at least further north. The bark and the roots have been used to make a yellow dye, and they contain a bitter principle that is useful medicinally. Native Americans used the plant to treat a wide variety of ailments, from ulcerate stomach to blood disorders and cancer. (Submitted by the general public; 16 April 2009.) (Godfrey 1988; Parfitt 1997.)
Austin, D.F. 2004. Florida ethnobotany. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. 909 p.
Godfrey, R.K. 1988. Trees, shrubs and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia. 734 p.
Huxley, A.J. (editor). 1992. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening. 4 volumes. Macmillan Press. London, England. 3,240 p.
Lewis, J. 2006. Longevity of crop and weed seeds: survival after 20 years in soil. Weed Research 13: 179-191.
Mabberley, D.J. 1997. The plant book, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England. 858 p.
Miller, J.H. and K.V. Miller. 2005. Forest plants of the southeast and their wildlife uses, revised edition. University of Georgia Press. Athens, Georgia. 454 p.
Norcini, J. G. and J. H. Aldrich. Reviewed March 2009. EDIS Publication ENH 1075. Native Wildflowers: Mimosa strigillosa Torr. & A. Gray. Environmental Horticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date November 2007. 3 p.
Parfitt, B.D. 1997. Xanthorhiza, in Flora of North America 3: 245-246.
Pemberton, R.W., T.M. Collins and S. Koptur. 2008. An Asian orchid, Eulophia graminea (Orchidaceae: Cymbideae) naturalizes in Florida. Lankesteriana 8: 5-14.
Pye, A. and L. Andersson. Time of emergence of Rumex crispus L. as affected by dispersal time, soil cover, and mechanical disturbance. Acta Acricultura, Section B – Plant Sciences (electronic journal, available at http://www.informaworld.com).
Staples, G.W. and D.R. Herbst. 2005. A tropical garden flora: plants cultivated in the Hawaiian Islands and other tropical places. Bishop Museum Press. Honolulu, Hawaii. 908 p.