|Florida gay-feather, scrub blazing star, scrub blazingstar|
|(Blake) B.L. Robins.|
|S.K. Maddox and Tammera Race|
The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Bok Tower Gardens
The conservation of Liatris ohlingerae is fully sponsored.
S.K. Maddox and Tammera Race contributed to this Plant Profile.
Liatris ohlingerae (scrub blazing star) is an endemic perennial herb, found only in the sand pine scrub of Polk and Highlands Counties in Central Florida. Its narrow linear leaves help to conserve water in the dry, well-drained sands in which it occurs. In summer and fall, the vivid rose-purple blooms of scrub blazing star spike the usual muted grays and greens of the sand pine scrub. Unlike many other Liatris species, the flowers of Liatris ohlingerae are clustered at the tips of the flowering stalks, not along a tall spike. This species is also distinguished from the eight other Liatris species that occur in Florida by its broad flower heads and narrow leaves. (USFWS 1999)
Scrub blazing star is adapted to fire and drought. The plant itself dies back in the winter, resprouting from a bulb in the spring. It can also resprout after fire.
Scrub blazing star may be locally common where it occurs. However, it is very narrowly distributed within its range. Much of its habitat has been converted for agriculture or other development.
Distribution & Occurrence
Scrub blazing star has a preference for shade. Unlike most other scrub endemics, L. ohlingerae seems to thrive in lightly shaded areas. An endemic that is found in rosemary balds and the ecotone between these balds and surrounding scrub habitats, scrub blazing star grows in highest densities on the lower slopes, especially where low, thin-canopied scrub oaks or patches of palm dominate the vegetation. Rosemary balds are represented by small "islands" separated from each other, and they provide suitable habitat for a number of scrub endemics. The soils are well-drained, droughty, low-nutrient, and because of this there is sparse biomass. Rosemary balds don't support frequent fires, typically burning every 40 to 100 years. (USFWS 1999).
|At present, there are 200 known populations, about half of which are protected in Polk and Highlands counties. (FNAI 2000)|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Herbivory is a limiting factor for flower production, as grasshoppers, white-tailed deer, and eastern cottontail rabbit are suspected of grazing on L. ohlingerae. In addition to herbivory, 30 percent of all buds are destroyed by borers. (USFWS 1999)
Dolan et al. (1999) assessed the genetic diversity of this species and found that, compared to two other endemic scrub species, it had high genetic variability, high levels of gene flow, and high levels of heterozygosity.
Herndon (1995, 1996, 1999) studied the life history of this species to address issues of low rates of seedling recruitment and adult mortality.
Protect and enhance existing populations.
Burn oak scrub every 15 - 20 years.
Burn rosemary scrub every 40 - 60 years.
Protect sites from off-road vehicles and trash dumping.
(FNAI 2000; USFWS 1999)
Maintain ex situ collection.
Cronquist, A. 1980. Vascular flora of the southeastern United States. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 261p.
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.