WHAT FLORIDA NATIVE PLANT IS BLOOMING TODAY?™: COASTALPLAIN STAGGERBUSH (Lyonia fruticosa)
What a surprise. Probably 7-8 ft tall. This appeared out of a thicket of Saw Palmetto, Muscadine and Blackberry which surround a Long Leaf Pine. It must have fought for its place in the sun.
Member of the heath family. important nectar source. (source:
Also called rusty lyonia or rusty staggerbush. Outstanding feature is the pretty rust colored pubescense which coats the leaves of new growth. closely related to L. ferruginea which IFAS reports: “pubescence …reportedly works to protect new growth from harmful insects.” (source: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp357) BUT, having seen a shrub completely defoliated by the larvae of the Datana sp. would seem to discount that theory.
Larval host: Prominent Moth Caterpillar (Datana spp.)
Native American Ethnobotany for this genus: http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=Lyonia+fruticosa
Where does it grow in Florida? http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=679