Friday, June 5, 2015

Flower Friday: Check out this rare bird -- white birds-in-a-nest!

Photo by Stacey Matrazzo
White birds-in-a-nest (Macbridea alba)  

White birds-in-a-nest is another Florida endemic perennial wildflower. Flowers are borne on single erect square stems. Each flower has a double-lipped white corolla and a hood-like upper lip. It may also bear a Its bracts are bright green to greenish-yellow. Leaves are lanceolate to spatulate and are oppositely arranged. Although it is in the mint family, it is typically without fragrance.

White birds-in-a-nest flowers May through July. It is fire-dependent and occurs naturally in coastal pinelands,
seeps, and wet savannas. It is a state-listed endangered species and a US-listed threatened species. Threats to this species include destruction of habitat, suppression of fire, silvicultural, and herbicides used on powerline rights-of-way.

White birds-in-a-nest gets its common name from the way its white flowers and buds  resemble bird heads and eggs nestled within a green nest that is formed by the flower's bracts. 

Photo by Stacey Matrazzo
Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)
Native range: Bay, Gulf, Franklin, and Liberty counties
Soil: Poorly drained soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade

Growth habit: 1-2 feet tall

To see where white birds-in-a-nest occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.

For more information on the conversation status of this plant, visit www.centerforplantconservation.org.

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