The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Bok Tower Gardens
The conservation of Justicia cooleyi is fully sponsored.
S.K. Maddox contributed to this Plant Profile.
Cooley's water-willow is a small but lovely plant. It is a short, rhizomatous, perennial herb that grows to less than 40 cm (16 inches) tall. Justicia cooleyi has upright, square stems that are covered with hairs. Its flowers, which open from August to December, are borne on forked, zigzag branches that are slightly longer that the leaves (up to 5 cm long). The petals are fused into a 10 mm long, two-lipped corolla with a slightly longer lower lip. The lower lip is mottled lavender and white, while the rest of the corolla is bright lavender-rose. Tiny, but worth the look.
This rare species differs from its more common relative, Justicia ovata, because it has thin leaves, dense overall hairiness, and a dark velvety flower lip. (FNAI 2000)
Distribution & Occurrence
Justicia cooleyi is endemic to middle peninsular Florida, in the Brooksville Ridge. It is found in dense-to-lightly shaded areas in hardwood or hardwood-pine hammocks, along meandering streams or small gullies, and on low rises within swamp-woodland hammocks. Soils are either fine sandy or silty clay loams. (Kral 1983)
Trees found in association with this species include southern magnolia, black gum, sweet gum, live oak, laurel oak, pignut hickory, cabbage palm, flowering dogwood, and yaupon holly. Understory associates include ferns, woodland grasses, and sedges. Fires are rare or do not occur at all, and the weather is temperate. As stated earlier, these are small plants, and they can easily get lost among the vegetation. (USFWS 1990)
| Five sites (Brooksville Ridge) plus 1 new site in Sumter Co.
Seventeen populations are known; about half are in conservation areas. (FNAI 2000)
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Clearcutting hardwood forests.
Agricultural and residential development.
Toll road development (Sierra Sun 2000).
Thorough search to accurately determine Cooley's water-willow's distribution and abundance.
Eradicate invasive plants.
Monitor and protect known roadside populations.
(USFWS 1990; FNAI 2000)
Hall, David W. 1993. Illustrated plants of Florida and the coastal plain. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House. 431p.
Taylor, W.K. 1992. The Guide to Florida Wildflowers. Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Company. 320p.