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Pennyroyal (Piloblephis rigida) is an aromatic evergreen shrub about 2 feet tall.  The leaves are opposite and needlelike.  Appearing year round are dense heads of pale purple flowers.  It is found in sandhills, oak scrub, pinelands and other dry, sandy sites in central and south Florida.

Sandhill wireweed (Polygonella robusta) is a brittle, woody shrub up to three feet tall.  The leaves are alternate and clustered.  White to pinkish spikelike flower clusters appear from March until November. They are found throughout the state in sandhills and sand pine scrub.

Reticulate pawpaw or Dog banana (Asimina reticulata) is a deciduous shrub about four and one half feet tall. It is densely branched and has oblong leaves that are alternate, leathery and have rounded tips. The top of the leaf is pale green and the underside is grayish with reddish brown veins.  Fragrant flowers (singular or clustered) hang down from the upper leaf axils.  They appear mid-spring before or with the leaves and have six creamy white petals.  The three inner petals have purplish markings.  The edible fruit is oblong and yellowish green.  This pawpaw occurs in pine flatwoods, coastal scrubs and sandhills in the central and southern part of the state.

  Flag pawpaw (Asimina obovata) is a deciduous shrub reaching a height of nine feet.  It has oblong leaves that are alternate and have toothless edges.  The flowers appear in mid-spring after the leaves. The drooping flowers are fragrant, creamy white and have six petals.  Usually found in clusters of two are yellowish green, oblong fruit.  It occurs in sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods and coastal hammocks in central and south Florida.

We also have our own butterfly.  The Florida leafwing (Anaea floridalis) gets its common name because when they are upside down, they look like dead leaves.  They have a small tail on their hind wings.  Above, they are bright red-orange and have dark markings along the edges and across the wings.  The undersides of their forewings are yellowish and the undersides of their hindwings are brown with fine lines that are black.  They are found in hammocks and woodland edges in south Florida and the Keys and have been occasionally seen as far north as Gainesville.  They are endangered.

If we preserve their natural habitats, plants and animals endemic to Florida will thrive.  If we continue to destroy their habitats more will become extinct.  Our state is unlike any other.  Let's keep it that way by preserving what was here before us.  We owe it to ourselves and to the creatures with which we share our beautiful state.

By: Cindy Conard


Ashton, Ray E. Jr. and Patricia Sawyer Ashton.  Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida: Part Three: The Amphibians. Winward Publishing, Inc.  1988.

Gingerich, Dr. Jerry Lee.  Florida's Fabulous Mammals.  World Publications.  1994.

Nelson, Gil.  The Shrubs and Woody Vines of Florida.  Pineapple Press.  1996.

Peterson, Roger Tory.  Peterson Field Guides. Eastern Birds.  Houghton Mifflin Company.  1980.

Pyle, Robert Michael.  National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies.  Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.  1994

Scott, Shirley L. , Editor.  Field Guide to the Birds of North America.  The National Geographic Society.  1987.

Taylor, Walter Kingsley.  Florida Wildflowers in Their Natural Communities.  University Press of Florida.  1998.

Taylor, Walter Kingsley.  The Guide to Florida Wildflowers.  Taylor Publishing Company.  1992.

Williams, Winston.  Florida's Fabulous Birds.  World Wide Publications.  1986. .

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