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FAMILY: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
STATUS: Endangered (Federal Register, November 1,1985)
DESCRIPTION AND REPRODUCTION: A strongly aromatic plant, longspurred mint grows up to 1.6 feet tall, with erect, non-woody flowering shoots growing from a woody base. The leaves are about .58 of an inch long, linear, with entire margins, and covered with conspicuous sunken glands. The leaves are borne opposite one another on the stems, often with two smaller leaves at each node. Flowers are borne in groups in the axils of the leaves on the upper parts of the stems. The petals are 7 millimeters (0.3 of an inch) long, forming a tube with two lips, bent at a 90-degree angle in the middle, and colored purplish-rose with deep purple markings and a whitish throat. The anthers are tipped by a spur 1.2 millimeters long, for which the plant is named. Longspurred mint flowers in September and produces fruits in the form of four small nutlets. This is a short-lived perennial that grows from seed; the species does not spread vegetatively.
RANGE AND POPULATION LEVEL: Longspurred mint is presently known from 15 occurences in Marion and Sumter Counties. Six of these populations are on the Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area in Marion County. The plant has been extirpated from several sites in these counties.
HABITAT: Longspurred mint is found only in open areas in sand pine scrub or oak scrub, and in the ecotones between these and turkey oak communities. It can colonize the edges of road rights-of-way, and has spread vigorously along streets.
REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS: Sites where the species once occurred in Sumter County and several of the sites where the species formerly occurred in Marion County are no longer suitable habitat because of development. Development continues to threaten other populations. The species has been taken sporadically for scientific purposes and is vulnerable to losses from the general public. The plants occur close to the highway and human habitation, and they can be easily identified by the strongly aromatic mint-like odor. The species' restricted range and limited numbers also increases its vulnerability to disturbance or natural disaster.
MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION: The species should be preserved in the extant sites, and, to provide greater security, the possibility of establishing additional populations within the historic range should be evaluated. Mild disturbances appear to have little effect and probably stimulate the species by reducing competition.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1985. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Determination of Endangered Status for Two Florida Mints. Federal Register 50(212):45621-45624.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1987. Recovery Plan for Three Florida Mints. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 21 pages.
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Last Updated: 08/2009
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