Saturday, May 26, 2018

Pineland Jacquemontia - Jacquemontia curtissii

The genus Jacquemontia commemorates French botanist and explorer Victor Jacquemont and includes 5 species native to Florida. All of these, except J. tamnifolia are restricted to extreme south Florida and are listed either as state Threatened or Endangered species. Pineland jacquemontia (J. curtissii) is one of these and is only reported from 5 counties at the tip of the peninsula in calcareous open pinelands and prairies. The plants photographed above were found in pine rockland habitat in Everglades National Park in late May.

Although a few members of this genus are routinely offered for sale by members of the Florida Association of Native Plant Nurseries (FANN), this one is not - regrettably. The 3/4-inch diameter white flowers are exceedingly attractive and are of interest to various pollinators. These blooms can occur year round. Like other members of this genus, it grows as an evergreen twining vine that rambles through the adjacent vegetation. Each stem will extend several feet from the main growing point. The leaves are elliptical in shape, alternate along the stem, and are 1/2-1 inch in length.

Pineland clustervine could be relatively easily grown in a home landscape given a bit of extra moisture and full sun to mostly sunny conditions. It would be an attractive plant if grown on a trellis or allowed to ramble through a mixed wildflower planting.  Until someone propagates it, however, it is best simply admired if encountered along a nature trail. As a state-protected species, it is not legal to collect seed or cuttings.

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