Eryngium cuneifolium

From Coastal Plain Plants Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Eryngium cuneifolium
Eryn cune.jpg
Photo by Shirley Denton (Copyrighted, use by photographer’s permission only), Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae ⁄ Umbelliferae
Genus: Eryngium
Species: E. cuneifolium
Binomial name
Eryngium cuneifolium
Eryn cune dist.jpg
Natural range of Eryngium cuneifolium from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Wedgeleaf eryngo

Taxonomic notes

E. cuneifolium is closely related to Eryngium aromaticum.[1]


It is a aromatic perennial herb with a basal rosette [1] that starts flowering 2 to 3 years after germination. [2] It is endemic to the pyrogenic Ceratiola scrubs of the southern portion of the Lake Wales ridge and has developed a long, woody taproot to cope with the limited nutrient and water availability. [2] Basal leaves are long, stalked and shaped like narrow wedges with 3 to 5 bristle-tipped teeth at the apex.[1] Perfect flowers are arranged in a compound umbel and are small with white petals, filaments, styles and stigmas.[3][1]


Eryngium cuneifolium is limited to a narrow geographic range in the southern portion of the Lake Wales Ridge in Ceratiola scrubs.[1]



E. cuneifolium is limited to the southern portion of the Lake Wales Ridge in acidic, excessively well drained, white sands of the St. Lucie or Archold series (hyperthermic, uncoated typic quartzipsamments)(Hawkes 2004). It can be found in exposed openings in Ceratiola ericoides scrubs created by fire and other disturbances [4] [5] Individuals are sensitive to microhabitat conditions, such as disturbance, plant cover and fire regime. Allelopathic chemicals released from Ceratiola ericioides and Calamintha ashei can inhibit germination and survival of E. cuneifolium (Hawkes 2004). [5] Associated species include Pinus elliottii, P. clausa, Quercus myrtifolia, Bumelia tenax, Persea palustris, Lyonia, Palafocia feayi, Sabal etonia, Liatris ohlingeae, Hypericum cumulicola, Lechea cernua, Quercus inopina, Q. geminanta, Q. chapmannii, Ximenia americana, Palafoxia feayi, Opuntia humifusa, Smilax auriculata, Nolina brittonia,and Polygonella fimbriata. [3] [4]


The perfect flowers are clustered in groups of 9-15 on a headlike compressed umbel and arranged in a compound umbel.[5] The flowers are protandrous and mature rapidly, with each umbel passing through a male phase, then a brief sexually inactive phase, followed by a female phase. [6] The flowers produce nectar, pollen and odor to attract pollinators and have a low rate of inbreeding. Flowers and fruits April through November. [4]

Seed dispersal

Fruits are small schizocarps and dispersed barochorically (Hawkes 2004).[5]

Seed bank and germination

The seeds of E. cuneifolium are small, making germination susceptible to microsite changes and soil crust characteristics (Hawkes 2004). Germination occurs a year after sowing [7] and is inhibited by water soluble litter and leachates from C. ericoides (Hawkes 2004). The persistent seed banks of E. cuneifolium may use allelochemicals from Ceratiola as a cue to induce seed dormancy in order to avoid competition with Ceratiola. [8] One study found high seedling recruitment after fire. [9]

Fire ecology

Florida rosemary scrubs recover slowly post-fire compared to other scrubs and the habitat structure progressively changes for decades in between fires.[10] E. cuneifolium depends on gaps in the Florida rosemary scrub, due to limiting microhabitat conditions and it's failure to thrive in close proximity to Ceratiola ericoides and Calamintha ashei due to allelopathic chemicals leached by both species. [5] Fires kill all C. ericoides individuals, and early postfire conditions of low shrub cover and limited competition are ideal for E. cuneifolium germination. Menges and Quintana-Ascencio (2004) found that individuals in recently burned areas live longer, survive better, grow faster and flower earlier than those that germinate in areas that have not burned recently. Fire has a positive effect on seed production, recruitment and survival, with seedlings appearing within a year of fire.


Eryngium cuneifolium has been observed at the Archbold Biological Station to host bees from the family Apidae such as Bombus pennsylvanicus, plasterer bees from the family Colletidae such as Colletes mandibularis, sweat bees from the family Halictidae such as Augochlora pura, Augochlorella aurata, Augochloropsis sumptuosa, Lasioglossum miniatulus, L. nymphalis, L. placidensis and Sphecodes heraclei, wasps from the family Leucospididae such as Leucospis affinis, L. robertsoni and L. slossonae, leafcutting wasps from the family Megachilidae such as Anthidiellum perplexum, Coelioxys mexicana, C. octodentata, C. sayi, Dianthidium floridiense, Megachile albitarsis, M. brevis pseudobrevis, M. mendica and M. texana, spider wasps from the family Pompilidae such as Episyron conterminus posterus, thread-waisted wasps from the family Sphecidae such as Anacrabro ocellatus, Bembix sayi, Bicyrtes capnoptera, Cerceris blakei, C. flavofasciata floridensis, Ectemnius rufipes ais, Isodontia exornata, Oxybelus laetus fulvipes, Philanthus politus, Prionyx thomae, Sphex ichneumoneus, Tachysphex similis, Tachytes guatemalensis and T. validus and wasps from the family Vespidae such as Euodynerus boscii boharti, E. castigatus rubrivestris, Pachodynerus erynnis and Polistes perplexus.[11]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

E. cuneifolium is limited to the southern region of the Lake Wales Ridge, much of which is being converted to agricultural lands and urban development, threatening many endemic species. Fragmentation of the intact Florida rosemary scrubs prevents the spread of fire and may indirectly threaten it [1]. Populations are protected at Archbold Biological Station and at the Bok Towers Gardens national endangered species collection.

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

Abrahamson, W.G. 1984a. Species responses to fire on the Florida Lake Wales Ridge. American Journal of Botany 71:35-43.

Abrahamson, W.G. 1984B. Post-fire recovery on the Florida Lake Wales Ridge associates vegetation. American Journal of Botany 71:9-21.

Abrahamson, W.G., A.E. Johnson, J.N. Layne, and P.A. Peroni. 1984. Vegetation of the Archbold Biological Station, Florida: an example of the southern Lake Wales Ridge. Florida Scientist 47:209-250. Abrahamson, W.G. 1984a. Species responses to fire on the Florida Lake Wales Ridge. American Journal of Botany 71:35-43. Abrahamson, W.G. 1984B. Post-fire recovery on the Florida Lake Wales Ridge associates vegetation. American Journal of Botany 71:9-21.

Hawks, C.V. and E.S. Menges. 1996. The relationship between open space and fire for species in xeric Florida scrubland. Bulletin. Torrey Bot. Club. Kral, R. 1983. Eryngium cuneifolium. In: A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the south. USDA Forest Service, technical publication R8-TP2.

Menges, E.S. and C.V. Hawks 1996. Interactive effects of fire and microhabitat on plants of Florida scrub.

Menges, E. 1998. Comments on technical/agency draft multi-species recovery plan for South Florida. September 30, 1998.

Wunderlin, R.P., D. Richardson, and B. Hansen. 1981. Status report on Eryngium cuneifolium. Unpublished report for: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 [FWS]Accessed: December 11, 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 Menges, Eric S., and Pedro F. Quintana-Ascencio. “Population Viability with Fire in Eryngium Cuneifolium: Deciphering a Decade of Demographic Data”. Ecological Monographs 74.1 (2004): 79–99.
  3. 3.0 3.1 [Encyclopedia of Life]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: October 2015. Collectors: Beverly Judd, Walter S. Judd, R. Kral, Siri von Reis. States and Counties: Florida: Highlands, St. Lucie. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Menges, E.S. and J. Kimmich. 1996. Microhabitat and time since fire: effects on demography of a Florida scrub endemic plant. American journal of Botany 93
  6. Evans, M. E. K., E. S. Menges, et al. (2003). "Reproductive biology of three sympatric endangered plants endemic to Florida scrub." Biological Conservation 111(2): 235-246.
  7. Quintana-Ascencio, Pedro R., and Eric S. Menges. “Competitive Abilities of Three Narrowly Endemic Plant Species in Experimental Neighborhoods Along a Fire Gradient”. American Journal of Botany 87.5 (2000): 690–69">
  8. Molly E. Hunter, and Eric S. Menges. “Allelopathic Effects and Root Distribution of Ceratiola Ericoides (empetraceae) on Seven Rosemary Scrub Species”. American Journal of Botany 89.7 (2002): 1113–1118.
  9. Navarra, J. J., N. Kohfeldt, et al. (2011). "Seed bank changes with time since fire in Florida rosemary scrub." Fire Ecology 7(2).
  10. Abrahamson, W.G., A.E. Johnson, J.N. Layne, and P.A. Peroni. 1984. Vegetation of the Archbold Biological Station, Florida: an example of the southern Lake Wales Ridge. Florida Scientist 47:209-250.
  11. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.