Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beautiful Paw Paw

On a recent plant walk at the Babcock/Webb WMA (Punta Gorda, Florida) with the Florida Native Plant of the group and fellow nature blogger, Thomas Zinneman, showed us a photo of a very rare and endangered wild flower which he found in our subdivision (we are neighbors).  It was a Beautiful Paw Paw (Deeringothamnus pulchellus).  We had never seen one but were quite interested....and wife Olivia recalled seeing something similar on a recent walk in our neighborhood.  Sure was not only one Beautiful Paw Paw....but a cluster of five!  Remarkable.

Plan to get your feet wet when you explore with the Florida Native Plant Society!  Here is a link to Thomas Zinnerman's fantastic blog.

This plant is critically endangered and rarely seen.  It has lost much of it's habitat to it was a surprise to find it in our subdivision.  The PDF below has lots of info about the recovery plan which included reintroducing the Beautiful Paw Paw onto Pine Island some 20+ years ago.  I believe these recent finds are the only reported north of the Peace River.

Interested to see this rare plant?  They are on Quito Dr, in Section 20 of the Deep Creek subdivision.  Below is a map and GPS coordinates.

Lat  27 1/' 11.8" N
Lon  82 1/' 25.2" W

We thought to "rescue" this plant....but our research told us that is has an extensive root system, needs very special soil conditions, and also needs fire or mowing to avoid competition from taller plants.  This cluster is on a vacant lot which gets mowed four times a we will just watch the plant cluster.

Thanks to Thomas for sharing his find...and to wife, Olivia who has a sharp eye for wild flowers.

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