Species

Hypericum cumulicola

Common Name

Highlands scrub St. Johns-wort

Habitat

Open sunny areas in rosemary
scrub and scrubby flatwoods on
gray or white sands

Legal Status

US – Endangered (1987),
FL – Endangered

Flowering Time

June – September

Distribution

Highlands scrub St. Johns-wort is a rare species that is endemic to the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands counties.

Description

Highlands scrub St. Johns-wort is a small, perennial herb, reaching heights to about 2 feet. The flowers have five yellow petals in a pinwheel and many stamens. The leaves are tiny, less than ¼ inch long. Fruits, flowers, and buds can be seen on an individual plant. Flowers open in the morning and often close by noon.

Threats

It is threatened by habitat loss and fire suppression.

Interesting Facts

Highlands scrub St. Johns-wort may contain hypericin, a promising chemical that may help protect animals from viral diseases. This is one of many endangered scrub plants that is killed by fire but recruits many new plants from dormant seeds stored in the soil. Although killed by fire, peroidic fires are necessary for population persistence; these fires reduce competition from shrubs.

Photos

GPS Coordinates

27.569960; -81.505798

References

Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Florida by Linda Chafin, Tallahasse FL ©2000.
Plant Description from the Fish and Wildlife Service (pdf)
Description from the National Collection of Imperiled Plants

Art by Mollie Doctrow