CPC Plant Profile: Florida Scrub Bluecurls
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Plant Profile

Florida Scrub Bluecurls (Trichostema suffrutescens)

Trichostema suffrutescens in bloom. Photo by Anna Clarke, courtesy of Bok Tower Gardens.

Photo Credit: Anna Clarke
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • State: FL
  • Nature Serve ID: 150193
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 08/26/2021

Participating Institutions
Updates
Cheryl Peterson
  • 12/07/2021
  • Seed Collection

   

A member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family, the Trichostema genus is native to North America.  Florida scrub bluecurls, T. suffrutescens, is found on coastal and inland uplands in peninsular Florida. Some inconsistencies exist about the taxonomic assignments of three Florida Trichostema species (T. suffrutescens, T. dichotomum, and T. setaceum) due to their reportedly very subtle and occasionally overlapping distinguishing features, and some sources list T. dichotomum as a synonym for T. suffrutescens.

     In late summer 2021, Bok Tower Gardens surveyed scrub sites along the Lake Wales Ridge and located a good population for collection of seeds of Florida Scrub bluecurls for preservation through the CPC Florida Seed Collections Initiative. The same site was surveyed earlier in the summer, but few plants were located because they can be difficult to observe outside of flowering season. Estimates on the timing of fruit production, in order to visit the population again and place seed collection bags on stems with spent flowers, were made based on another nearby population that was easy to observe regularly.  By mid-November, the nearby population was still developing new flowers and had not yet set seed.  The target population was visited anyway, which was fortunate for the seed collection plans because fruit development was well underway. Seed collection bags were placed on one stem each of 27 maternal parent plants, then retrieved following dehiscing three weeks later.

     This is the first time Bok Tower Gardens had collected seeds of any member of this genus. Some lessons learned were that the different populations, even closely adjacent, can be quite different in terms of timing of flowering and seed production. Another lesson was to do initial surveys for this species during flowering season, because the plants can be easily overlooked when not in flower.

Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/26/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Bok Tower Gardens plans to make a conservation seed collection of this species in 2021 as part of CPC’s inaugural season of the Florida Plant Rescue seed collections initiative.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Trichostema suffrutescens
Authority Kearney
Family Lamiaceae
CPC Number 46656
ITIS 32368
USDA TRSU6
Common Names Florida scrub bluecurls
Associated Scientific Names
Distribution
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida SNR
Habitat

Ecological Relationships

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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