Pretty Fall Palafoxia

Faey’s palafoxia (Palafoxia faeyi) is in full flower in the scrubby upland areas of the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. This member of the daisy family, Asteraceae, has no ray flowers (“petals”) just disc flowers that have a long tubular shape. The flowers are pinkish white or white with dramatic maroon styles and curving white stigmas.

These showy female floral parts that attract our eye also beckon bees and butterflies.
!!!!palafoixa-faeyi5-side-viewThey must have caught the eye of William Feay (1804? – 1879), a Savannah physician with botanical interests who came to Florida to botanize during the Civil War, who collected the first plant and for whom the plant is named.
Faey’s palafoxia is endemic to the southern 2/3 of Florida and grows only in the well-drained soils of scrub and scrubby pine flatwoods. Its opposite leaves are rough and diminish in size along the stem of this subshrub which grows to be up to 8′ tall.

Some Faey’s palafoxia are adorned by great round galls made by a midge …
Note exit hole in the photo above. Specialized parasitoid wasps attack this gall-making midge and are part of the dance of Nature for this scrub endemic seen below with a silk grass flower in the background.

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