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Rare Plant Encounters

posted Apr 30, 2014, 1:36 PM by Hernando Chapter Florida Native Plant Society   [ updated Apr 30, 2014, 1:38 PM ]
Submitted by Jude Simpson, President, Hernando Chapter

I had the opportunity to help with this year's Brooksville Bellflower survey, coordinated by Cheryl Peterson from Bok Towers. I personally counted hundreds of these tiny, blue flowering plants, densely packed into a small area. I was amazed at how quickly I learned how to pick them out. 

The survey is conducted by dividing the small area where the plants have been seen previously into plots several feet wide. Each surveyor then closely inspects a plot on hands & knees, inch by inch. I feel so fortunate to have had this close encounter with one of the rarest of the rare. For more detailed information about this plant and its history, read our previous article.


The Brooksville bellflower (Campanula robensiae) is smaller than you can imagine; those brown objects are leaves. This species occurs in Hernando County and almost nowhere else.  

In April, on a field trip with nature photographer, Paul Rehbman in Volusia, I got to see Rugel's Paw Paw, Deeringothamnus rugelii, in bloom. The field trip was my winning bid item at the silent auction at the 2013 FNPS conference. I also got to see my first Yellow Pitcher plant, and other species that we don't find here. 

Paul gave me helpful tips for composition and photographing plants in different light conditions. He also downloaded a manual for my camera, and showed me how to use features that are helpful for nature photography. It was a lovely field trip. See Paul's beautiful photos at, and at the 2014 conference

Rugel's Paw Paw, Deeringothamnus rugelii, has been listed as Federally Endangered since 1986. It occurs only near New Smyrna Beach in Volusia county.