Sunday, March 26, 2023

Hairyjoint Meadow Parsnip - Thaspium barbinode - Update

Hairyjoint meadow parsnip (Thaspium barbinode) is a rare-in-Florida member of the carrot family, vouchered only from Jackson County in the north-central Panhandle with several other possible records elsewhere from Walton and Duval counties - all in extreme north Florida.  It is common to our north, however, and is recorded throughout most of the eastern half of the U.S.  Throughout its range, it is found in moist forested areas, and along streams and ponds and occasionally prairies in full sun to partial shade although shade may impact its growth and number of blooms. It is a perennial that dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges in spring.  

This is a robust wildflower that will eventually reach a mature height of 4-6 feet.  The stems and stem branches have noticeably stiff hairs which give it its common name, but these are not easily seen unless looked at close-up. Like many other members of the carrot family (Apiaceae), it has compound leaves.  They alternate along the stem, but are most abundant near the base,  Each is toothed, 1-2 inches across and up to 1 inch wide.  Leaves ascending the main stem become smaller, and all are minutely "hairy" - especially along the veins and edges.

Flowering occurs in spring.  The umbels of bright yellow flowers in clusters of 10-20 flowers each, are 1-2 inches wide. The tiny individual flowers are all stalked and comprised of five petals that fold inwards. Pollinated flowers form brown oblong seeds by late summer that often remain attached to the stems even as the stems die and fall to the ground.  These can be collected and sown.

I have not cultivated this species previously,  The above photos were taken of plants I purchased from a native plant nursery north of Florida.  It is reported that hairyjoint meadow parsnip is tolerant of a wide variety of soils and growing conditions though it prefers moist (not wet) soil and at least half-day sun.  As a member of the Apiaceae, it is a host for the eastern black swallowtail.  It also attracts a variety of pollinators to its flowers.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Mauve - Abutilon hulseanum


Mauve flower

Mauve (Abutilon hulseanum) is one of only two members of this widely occurring genus native to Florida.  The other member, coastal Indian mallow (A. permolle) has been vouchered only from extreme south Florida with a disjunct collection from Manatee County while mauve  has a sporadic distribution throughout peninsular Florida.  It also is reported from Louisiana, Texas, Mexico and the West Indies.  According to Kew Gardens, it is originally from Central America and probably Cuba and Florida.   After going through the photos and labels for specimens in the SIEnet database, the only occurrences in Florida that were convincingly in natural systems (as opposed to highly disturbed areas) were on shell mounds, dunes, and similar coastal sites.  Hence, its true natural distribution in Florida is likely confined to the west coast of the state. Regardless, throughout its current range it is most common to disturbed upland sites in full to partial sun.  In short, it is somewhat weedy by nature. That, of course, is not a value judgement but a statement of its ecological niche.

Mauve gets its rather drab common name from the color of its blooms. As can be seen in the photo above, the five petals (the standard number for plants in the Malvaceae) are a rosy pink in color.  These often start out as yellowish before they assume this color. The blooms are produced near the tops of the stout, almost-woody stems, from winter through late spring in Florida, though sporadic flowering can occur later in the year.  

Mauve is a perennial that reaches about 6 feet tall at maturity.  The erect stems are covered by stiff hairs and are rough to the touch.  Elongated stipules are present at the base of the petiole where it attaches to the stem and the leaves (like many members of this family) are heart-shaped and solitary.  They are normally about 2-3 inches long.

The seed capsules that form after flowering are technically called a schizocarp.  These turn dark brown to almost black at maturity and split open along the carpal lines.  Each contains 4-6 seeds per carpal.  

Mauve flowers attract the attention of a wide variety of pollinators, but it is not known as a host to any butterfly or moth native to our state.  Those that have incorporated it into their landscapes report that it can spread by seed if not contained, but it can make a useful and interesting addition if some care is taken to remove the seed capsules before they mature and split open.  This plant is easy to grow and forgiving of a wide variety of landscape settings except too much shade and wet soils.  It is infrequently offered by native nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.

Seed Capsule