Sunday, December 26, 2010

Piloblephis rigida

Winter has definitely set in here in northern Indiana, so I am not taking many photos of plants these days. This is the time of year that I have a chance to go back through and post photos that I had intended to post earlier in the year but never did. Why not begin with a photo from March 2010... this is Piloblephis rigida, Wild Pennyroyal.

At the time that I took these photos, I was under the impression that Piloblephis rigida was endemic to Florida, but it appears that it is also known from a couple of locations in Georgia, where it is ranked S1. Piloblephis rigida grows in dry communites such as scrub, sandhills, and pine flatwoods. As with many mints, Wild Pennyroyal has various medicinal uses, including treatment of colds, fevers, and sores; it has also been used to induce vomiting.

You may be thinking, "that sure looks like a Satureja or Clinopodium." In fact, this low shrub is treated by some botanists as Satureja rigida or Clinopodium rigidum.


Keith said...

Nice plant Scott. I have several questions since it's new to me:
1. It seems unlikely, but are the stems square even though they are woody?
2. Is it aromatic? If so, what does it smell like?
3. Even though its overall range is limited, is it locally frequent where it grows?

Scott Namestnik said...

Hey Keith. The stems are square, sort of. The older stems are more rounded to somewhat angled, but the younger growth is square-stemmed. The plant is very aromatic. It is said to smell like pennyroyal, which is said to smell like spearmint... and I would agree. It is only known from two counties in Georgia, but is known from nearly every county in peninsular Florida, where it is locally common.

I have a specimen if you would like to borrow it sometime.