Monday, December 6, 2010

Wickham Park: A "Summer Farewell" Study, Nov. 30 & Dec. 2, 2010

Recently I came across a strange, new plant on the north side of the park. There were about two dozen clumps of them growing along the west side of a wide, sandy firebreak/trail that runs north from the Youth Camping area to the north boundary at Post Rd. The plant was past blooming, but had several unusual features, the most obvious one being feathery seed heads. I emailed some photos of the plant to Sally Scalera, who sent them on to the UF Herbarium for identification. The answer came back a few days later: Dalea pinnata var. adenopoda, common name "Summer Farewell." It's a member of the Fabaceae (Pea) Family, a Florida endemic, and is found in Brevard Co. I'll return to the area next summer to catch them in bloom. In the meantime, click here to see photos of Summer Farewell blossoms at a North Carolina Wildflower website.

Here are some characteristics of Dalea pinnata :

From Wunderlin & Hansen, "Flower spike subtended by a conspicuous involucre (head resembling that of the Asteraceae); calyx segments plumose [feathery]."

From Taylor, "Bracts prominent, overlapping, broad, reddish-brown. Calyx hairy, 5-lobed, lobes feathery. Leaves alternate, odd-pinnately compound. Leaflet segments linear to filiform, gland-dotted, smooth. Dry pinelands and sand pine scrub. Stem smooth, branched, somewhat woody, leafty, to 3 ft. tall."

From Wunderlin & Hansen: The variety adenopoda is separated from the other two varieties (pinnata and trifoliata) by the leaflets: "elliptic-oblanceolata, often folded, but not involute, 1-2 mm wide." In the other two varieties, the leaflets are "filiform to linear, usually involute, 0.3-0.6 mm wide."

Below are various views of the Summer Farewells of Wickham Park.



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