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Early Botanical Explorers

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Early Botanical Explorers showcases a few of the plants that have been named for several of the early naturalists and botanists that came through the area early in our history.

Rugel's Pawpaw - Deeringothamnus rugelii - Ferdinand Rugel (1806-1879)    $     ?
Rugel's Pawpaw - Deeringothamnus rugelii - Ferdinand Rugel (1806-1879)
Rugel's pawpaw, also known as yellow squirrel banana, is named for Ferdinand Rugel who discovered this little plant near New Smyrna in 1848. Rugel was a German pharmacist, doctor and professional field botanist who came to the US to collect specimens in the southern Appalachians and settled in Tennessee. He made expeditions into Florida and Cuba, mainly selling his collections in Europe. The only place in the world that Rugel's pawpaw has been found is Volusia County, making it both a state and county endemic plant.

Curtiss' Milkweed #2 - Asclepias curtissii - Allen Hiram Curtiss (1845-1907)    $     ?
Curtiss' Milkweed #2 - Asclepias curtissii - Allen Hiram Curtiss (1845-1907)
Curtiss' milkweed is another Florida endemic found mostly in scrub habitats such as Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, the big scrub of Ocala National Forest where this photograph was made, or scrubby flatwoods. This milkweed is named for Allen Hiram Curtiss who collected many plant specimens throughout Florida in the late 1800's, at least dozen of these bear his name. Curtiss began his career as a professional collector in Virginia, moving to Jacksonville at age 30 to work for the United States Department of Agriculture. One of his tasks for the USDA was to obtain specimens of trees from the southern states for the 1876 Centennial exposition held in Philadelphia.

Michaux's Cupgrass - Eriochloa michauxii - André Michaux (1746-1802)    $     ?
Michaux's Cupgrass - Eriochloa michauxii - André Michaux (1746-1802)
The green and purple inflorescence of Michaux's cupgrass was photographed at Tomoka State Park. This grass is named for André Michaux who first discovered this species in 1788 near Matanzas Inlet. Michaux was the royal botanist for King Louis XVI of France and explored Florida in the late 1700's. Walter Kingsley Taylor and Eliane M. Norman, both of central Florida, co-authored the book André Michaux in Florida: An Eighteenth Century Botanical Journey.

Bartram's Ixia - Calydorea caelestina - William Bartram (1739-1823)    ?
Bartram's Ixia - Calydorea caelestina - William Bartram (1739-1823)
William Bartram travelled to Florida from his home in Philadelphia a number of times, initially with his father John Bartram and later on his own, documenting his interactions with, and observations of the natives, as well as the animals and plants that he found. His writings were eventually published as the popular Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida. The chief of the Alachua tribe named William 'puc-puggy', which was 'flower hunter' in their language. Bartram's ixia occurs in northeast Florida and blooms in the late spring or early summer, with the flowers opening in the morning and usually closing by noon.

Pine Lily and Pines - Lilium catesbaei - Mark Catesby (1683-1749)    $     ?
Pine Lily and Pines - Lilium catesbaei - Mark Catesby (1683-1749)
"Pine Lily and Pines" is a low-angle view of a Catesby's lily, named for Mark Catesby who explored the southeastern colonies in the 1720's and later produced his Natural History of the Carolinas, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Other names for Catesby's lily are pine lily and southern red lily.

Hairy Leafcup - Smallanthus uvedalia - John Kunkel Small (1869-1938)    $     ?
Hairy Leafcup - Smallanthus uvedalia - John Kunkel Small (1869-1938)
Hairy leafcup is also known as bearsfoot for the large palmate leaves, and also sometimes called yellow-flowered leafcup. The genus Smallanthus is named for John Kunkel Small (1869-1938) a botanist at the Herbarium of Columbia College and the Museum of the Botanical Garden of New York and author of the Flora of the Southeastern United States. Small came to explore natural Florida numerous times in the early 1900's. In addition to contributing greatly to the field of botany, Small wrote the acclaimed From Eden to Sahara - Florida's Tragedy documenting destruction of the state's natural systems.

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