Featured Projects - Research

FNPS is monitoring two extremely rare mints, longspurred balm (Dicerandra cornutissima) and blushing balm (Dicerandra modesta).  Both are federally and state listed as Endangered. 

Dicerandra cornutissima occurs only in dry yellow-sand scrubs near Ocala in Marion and Sumter counties: the largest protected poulation is in the Cross Florida Greenway.  A smaller population is also protected by the Putnam Land Conservancy.

Dicerandra modesta is endemic to Polk County where it is present at the Horse Creek Scrub Tract of the Lake Marion Creek Wildlife Management Area managed by the South Florida Water Management District.    The population is bisected by the right-of-way for the SabalTrail pipeline and a Duke Energy transmission line.  The Florida Native Plant Society is monitoring the population and restoring the area damaged during the installation of the pipeline.


Florida Forest Service
Duke Energy

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Dicerandra cornutissima.  Photograph from habitat that no longer exists southwest of Ocala, by Shirley Denton.



Under the leadership of FNPS Conservation Committee member Scott Davis, we are documenting occurrences of Florida’s native milkweed (Asclepias) species throughout the state.  Many of our milkweed species are important hosts for monarch butterflies. 

Mr. Davis and volunteers across Florida have documented 21 native milkweed species and have tracked about 800 populations throughout the state.  Many of the documented populations and plants are roadside occurrences.  Data is shared with the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

More about the database:
It is comprehensive and assimilated into the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Database - used by vegetation managers, land managers, agencies, and more.  What it encompasses:

  • Roadsides
  • Powerline Cuts – (and herbicide Issues)
  • Public Lands


  • To know where each species occurs
  • To monitor
  • To protect and appropriately manage (with FDOT, county, city, and private land managers)

Key Findings:

  • Many species are more uncommon than anticipated, and  they appear to be very dependent upon roadsides.
  • There are major apparent occurrence gaps in South Florida, North Central Florida, and SW Florida
  • Only a handful of sites are utilizing reduced mowing practices that are essential for maintaining appropriate habitat

WE NEED A LOT OF HELP (to mobilize local FNPS members to contact local officials and support reduced mowing and management of these important sites).  Note that reduced mowing does not mean “no mowing” because some annual mowing, properly timed, is needed at many of these sites.

How you can help:

  1. Document all sightings of Asclepias occurrences and report to conservation@fnps.org  to help fill in gaps and build the database.  Please provide an accurate location either using GPS or your cell phone. Please take a close-up picture of the plant and send it with your email.
  2. Encourage your county to adopt a wildflower resolution (if they haven’t yet). 
  3. If your county has adopted a wildflower resolution and you see a roadside population with no signs of protection, you can simply contact FDOT for populations located on state highways or a county roads department for populations located on county roads.
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Milkweed locations map as of March 2020.