July, the month for peas

Clitoria fragrans
Rare wild Sweetsented Pigeonwings Pea from Florida

I entered seven new plant species in the Shady Grove Preserve Species list this month. Five of them are endangered/rare Florida peas.  I found them because they were blooming.

With so many new species, I and ended up overwhelmed in research and this blog almost didn’t happen. There was just too much to say.  Understand, I am not writing this to discuss the fine points of species identification, but rather the amazing diversity, and adaptability of these little plants.

Here’s what happened… Early in July, lightning struck a 100+ year old hickory in the north east cornter of the preserve. When it fell, it also brought down good sized live oak, and they both landed on top of the tower road.  When I went out to see how the tree removal guys were doing, cleaning up the mess, I noticed these beautiful blossoms up in the mowed part of the eastern boundary that is actually 12oth Ave.  Fortunately no one drives there since my tower road is the road of choice, and because of the price of gas, I haven’t mowed there yet this season.

I returned with my camera an captured many images of these blossom covered little plants.  They smell wonderful.  I am reminded of iris. They also must taste great because it is clear from the holes in the blossoms that the buds get gnawed upon quite a bit.   (They are probably Sweetsented Pigeonwings Pea, Clitoria fragrans.)

When I showed these pictures to my daughter, she said, “Mom we have always had these, go look up at the dressage field.”  So, I did.  And, there were more peas.  Only these were different.  Growing in the shade along the trail, only one blossom per plant, more round, not so oval, and these didn’t smell. They are beautiful none the less. (They are probably Atlantic Pigeonwings Pea , Clitoria mariana.) 

I knew they were peas from the three leaves on each branch.  Peas are members of the Fabaceae family.  And so are a lot of other things.  The adventure continues in August; I have discovered 3 more species; blooming of course.

Thank heaven I haven’t been mowing these places.  I would never have seen these lovely native wild flowers.   Perhaps there are some benefits to the price of gas going up.  (Click on an image to see it full sized)


See more at: http://shadygrovepreserve.com  

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