Short-leaved Rosemary

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Short-leaved Rosemary

Conradina brevifolia

ListedJuly 12, 1993
FamilyLamiaceae (Mint)
DescriptionA fragrant, perennial shrub.
HabitatSand pine scrub vegetation on Lake Wales Ridge, Florida.
ThreatsResidential development and conversion of habitat to citrus groves and pastures.


The short-leaved rosemary is a perennial shrub with leaves on well-developed flowering branches that are 0.24-0.32 in (6.0-8.2 mm) long, mostly shorter than the internodes. There are between one and six flowers per axil.


The short-leaved rosemary inhabits sand pine scrub vegetation, generally dominated by evergreen scrub oaks and other shrubs, with scattered sand pine and open areas with herbs and smaller shrubs. This vegetation type supports many endemic species including 13 species that are Federally listed as endangered or threatened.


This plant is a local (or endemic) species restricted to less than 6,000 acres (2,400 hectares) on the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands Counties, Florida.


Except for two protected colonies, the short-leaved rosemary is threatened by destruction of its central Florida scrub habitat for agricultural purposes (citrus groves and pastures) and for residential development. Fire control may also impact the species by allowing succession to progress and degrade its natural habitat; the short-leaved rosemary may not be able to compete with species of later succession. Wild rosemary is considered a desirable plant in horticulture, and a more widespread relative, Conradina canescens, is often collected. Protection of the endangered short-leaved rosemary is made difficult by its similarity to C. canescens.

C. brevifolia is only known to survive at about 30 sites. Because of its small population size and limited distribution, it is vulnerable to extinction. The small population size also means there is a limited gene pool, which could affect the ability of the rare shrub to adapt to changes in its environment.

Conservation and Recovery

The short-leaved rosemary occurs on the Lake Arbuckle State Forest and on land owned by The Nature Conservancy at Saddle Blanket Lakes. These lands are being managed to maintain their natural condition. In 1997, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a Recovery Plan for the short-leaved rosemary and co-occurring rare plants. These species will all benefit from actions taken to protect the threatened Florida scrub-jay, from land acquisitions to create a Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, and from other Federal, State, and private land acquisition projects.

Research concerning the propagation and reintroduction of the short-leaved rosemary is needed to ensure the success of transplants and to provide a captive population to provide stock for future transplants. The population of the short-leaved rosemary should be monitored, and further research conducted on its life history and ecological requirements.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office Division of Endangered Species
1875 Century Blvd., Suite 200
Atlanta, Georgia 30345

Ecological Services Field Office
6620 Southpoint Drive South, Suite 310
Jacksonville, FL
Telephone: (904) 232-2580
Fax: (904) 232-2404


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 12 July 1993. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered or Threatened Status for Five Florida Plants." Federal Register 58 (131): 37432-37443.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. Short-leaved Rosemary (Conradina brevifolia). Endangered and Threatened Species of the Southeastern United States (The Red Book) FWS Region 4.

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. 134 pp.