Throughout 2022 and with support from a grant from Duke Energy and supplemental funding from the Florida Forest Service, the Rare Plant Conservation Program (RPCP) has worked to restore sandhill habitat adjacent to Bok Tower Gardens to support populations of the endangered Clasping warea (Warea amplexifolia), Florida Ziziphus (Ziziphus celata), and numerous other native species and pollinators.
This work has involved reducing the overgrowth of hardwood trees and shrubs, removing and treating invasive species, and maintaining the power line easement areas. In August, a newly improved area was ready to be populated with a diversity of native plant species. Several hundred native grasses and forbs, including wiregrass, lopsided indiangrass, Elliott’s lovegrass, greeneyes, white beardtongue, butterfly weed, Silver-leaved aster, sandhill wireweed, and clasping warea were transplanted with the help of volunteers from Bok Tower Gardens and the Ridge Rangers.
Each plant was immediately watered in well by hand, then irrigated regularly every two days as needed. Reintroducing native ground cover species like this is an important component of restoring a habitat. These species will help outcompete invasive species, increase biodiversity, and provide nectar for pollinators. This project also served as a unique training opportunity for Horticultural Intern Dominic Garrido, pictured above, who gained experience in leading a volunteer workday for habitat restoration.
Article was written by Cheryl Peterson, Conservation Program Manager at Bok Tower Gardens.