General Landscape Uses:
An accent or specimen shrub in moist locations.
Ecological Restoration Notes: A rather rare element of a variety for upland ecosystems.
Grown by several native plant nurseries in central and northern Florida.
Description: Medium to large erect woody shrub with sparse foliage and upright stems that ultimately bend toward the ground.
Dimensions: Typically 4-12 feet in height. About as broad as high and often growing in clumps.
Growth Rate: Moderate.
Widespread in North America south to northern Broward and Collier counties, but rare and scattered in southern peninsular Florida. Reported for Miami-Dade County based upon a specimen from "Lemon City," but this may refer to a location in the Charlotte Harbor area.
Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance: Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color: Dark purple to pale blue and white.
Flower Characteristics: Showy, in dense elongated racemes.
Flowering Season: Spring-summer; peak in spring.
Fruit: Small pod (legume).
Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and moderate amounts of cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for silver spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus) and southern dogface (Zerene cesonia) butterflies.
Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed, cuttings, air layers and suckers. Seeds should be sown as soon as they are ripe. Greenwood cuttings are best in early summer, hardwood cuttings in the fall.
References: Schaefer & Tanner 1997
Comments: Rarely attacked by insects or disease. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.