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Pisonia (Pisonia rotundata)

Smooth devil’s claw (Pisonia rotundata) in National Key Deer Refuge, Florida.

Photo Credit: Noah Frade
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Nyctaginaceae
  • State: FL
  • Nature Serve ID: 138456
  • Lifeform: Tree, Shrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 11/22/2022

Where is Pisonia (Pisonia rotundata) located in the wild?

States & Provinces:

Pisonia can be found in Florida

Which CPC Partners conserve Pisonia (Pisonia rotundata)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Tina Stanley
  • 05/11/2023
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

According to a March 2023 extract of the Florida Plant Rescue Database, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden holds 1 accessions of Pisonia rotundata totalling approximately 175 seeds representing 1 maternal lines.

Sabine Wintergerst
  • 11/22/2022
  • Seed Collection

Smooth devil’s claw (Pisonia rotundata) is an understated relative of the showy bougainvillea plant (both are in the family Nyctaginaceae). Globally, it is found only in Cuba, The Bahamas, Hispaniola, and extreme South Florida. In fact, biologists from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami needed to travel south for about 120 miles until they reached the northernmost plants in the US-- in the Lower Florida Keys!

Thanks to the Daniels Lab at the University of Florida’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Fairchild’s conservation program had a team member in the lower Florida Keys for most of 2022. Biologist Taylor Hunt was able to collect 8700 smooth devil’s claw seeds from 50 maternal lines for this project. Fruits of this species are like tiny little brown balls of Velcro. They are very sticky, which is likely an adaptation to aid in vertebrate dispersal.  The sticky exterior is almost impossible to remove without damaging the seed.  Luckily, tests in our seed lab showed that removal of the fruit is not necessary for germination of this species.

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Taxon Pisonia rotundata
Family Nyctaginaceae
CPC Number 46369
Duration Perennial
Common Names
Associated Scientific Names
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida S1
Ecological Relationships


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