Scrub Buckwheat

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Scrub Buckwheat

Eriogonum longifolium var. gnaphalifolium

Status Threatened
Listed April 27, 1993
Family Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Description Perennial herb with long, narrow green or bronze-green leaves above and densely white-woolly beneath; and silvery, silky-pubescent flowers.
Habitat High pine, scrub communities.
Threats Agricultural and urban development.
Range Florida

Description

Scrub buckwheat is a perennial herb with a single stem that grows from a stout, woody root. Most of the leaves are at the base of the stem. The leaves are 6-8 in (15-20 cm) long, narrowly oblanceolate, entire, and green or bronze-green above, densely white-woolly beneath. The leaves on the stem are smaller and arranged alternately. The stem is erect, up to 3 ft (90 cm) tall, and terminates in an open panicle. Each branch of the panicle ends in a cup-shaped involucre, with five to eight teeth about 0.2 in (5 mm) long. Within each involucre, 15-20 flowers form a cluster, with the stalk of each flower starting out erect, then reflexing so the flower hangs down below the involucre. Each flower is 0.2-0.3 in (5-7.5 mm) long, with six linear sepals. The involucre and flowers are silvery, silky-pubescent.

Habitat

Scrub buckwheat occurs in dry upland communities in central Florida including scrub, high pine, or intermediate "turkey oak barrens" and in the coastal scrub community in the northwestern part of the state.

Scrub buckwheat occurs in habitats intermediate between scrub and sandhills (high pine), and in turkey oak barrens.

Distribution

Historic records exist for this species occurring in Lake County near Eustis; it still is found near Clermont in remnants of high pine.

Scrub buckwheat is found from Marion County to Highlands County. The northern range limit for this subspecies is in Ocala National Forest and areas of mixed scrub and high pine south of Ocala in Marion County. The plant may occur as far south as Sumter County. Other scattered localities include sites in Lake, southwest Orange, and northwest Osceola Counties as well as along the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands County.

Threats

This species is being displaced by the conversion of high pine and scrub communities to agriculture. It is also coming under pressure from property taxation that favors agriculture; human activities; and a limited geographic distribution.

Conservation and Recovery

The Fish and Wildlife Service published a Recovery Plan for the scrub buckwheat and cooccurring endangered species in 1996. Its critical habitat occurs in the following protected areas: Ocala National Forest, Lake Arbuckle State Forest and State Park, and The Nature Conservancy preserves at Tiger Creek and Lake Apthorpe. Other critical habitats are on private land and are potentially threatened by various activities. This habitat should be protected by acquiring the land and designating ecological reserves, or by negotiating conservation easements with the landowners. The populations of the scrub buckwheat should be monitored, and research undertaken into its biology, habitat needs, and beneficial management practices.

Contacts

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Office of the Regional Director
1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 400
Atlanta, Georgia 30345-3319
Telephone: (404) 679-4006
Fax: (404) 679-4006
http://southeast.fws.gov/

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office
6620 Southpoint Drive South, Suite 310
Jacksonville, Florida 32216-0958
Telephone: (904) 232-2580
Fax: (904) 232-2404
http://www.fws.gov/r4jafl/

References

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 27 April 1993. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered or Threatened Status for Seven Central Florida Plants." Federal Register 58 (79): 25746-25755.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996. Recovery Plan for Nineteen Central Florida Scrub and High Pineland Plants (revised). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia.