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Flower Power! Will New Endangered Miami Flowers Block Development?

October 3, 2013

A federal agency said Wednesday that two wildflowers – and 2,700 acres where they grow in Miami-Dade County – deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The flowers are the Florida Brickell Bush (Brickellia mosieri), and the Carter’s Small-Flowered Flax (carteri var. carteri). Both are small flowering plants that grow only in Miami-Dade County.

South Florida is no stranger to controversy over endangered species. Protections for the wood stork, for example, were challenged by the Florida Homebuilders Association in 2009.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal would designate critical habitat the plants. According to the FWS, their remaining habitat exists only in open spaces and parks in the Pinecrest or South Miami area, and in North Miami Beach.  (They’re obviously rare… it took us 45 minutes just to find a picture of them!)

A news release from the Center for Biological Diversity gave the following details on the plants:

carter small flower flax

Carter’s Small-Flowered Flax (credit: Center for Biological Diversity)

  • Florida Brickell-Bush (pictured left) is a white, perennial flower in the aster family that grows to more than 3 feet in height. At least nine known populations have been wiped out by development. There are 17 known surviving populations. The total number of plants is estimated to have declined by 50 percent since 1999, and the overall population is estimated at 2,100 to 3,700 plants.
  • Carter’s Small-Flowered Flax (pictured right) is 1 foot tall and has yellow petals. At least five populations have been lost to development. There are seven surviving populations and a total population size of only 1,300 flowers.

Both flowers are threatened by conversion of native habitat for urban and agricultural development and by inadequate fire management and invasive plant species.

I suppose we’d be more understanding if the flowers were actually pretty, but, umm… ick?

 

Source:  SFBJ

 

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