Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pitted Stripeseed - Piriqueta cistoides subsp. caroliniana

Pitted stripeseed (Piriqueta cistoides subsp. caroliniana) occurs nearly statewide in Florida and in states immediately to our north and to South Carolina, and in Puerto Rico. Throughout this region, it occurs in upland sunny locations with good drainage. In Florida, this includes sandhills and xeric flatwoods.
This is a weak-stemmed perennial that dies back to the ground in late fall and re-emerges in early spring.  Multiple stems arise from the main growing point and these tend to scramble a bit along the ground instead of being fully upright.  Each stem may extend 8-12 inches before turning upward to flower. The foliage is deep green, alternate along the stem and elliptical. Each leaf has a wavy margin and deeply inset veins.
Flowering occurs in summer at the tips of the many branches. Each flower is bright yellow and composed of 5 petals. They last for several days and are produced over time along the main stems. The flowers are not huge draws for pollinators, but they are visited by butterflies and bees.
I like the simplicity of this wildflower and we have kept it in our landscape at Hawthorn Hill for a number of years. We have found it to be easy to provide for, though a target for rabbit herbivory.  Regretably, it has not been offered for sale commercially and it would be difficult to find.  We have not grown it ourselves for sale at our nursery either, but could if there was interest.
Pitted stripeseed does best in open sunny locations, planted in small clusters or in scattered locations not too far apart from each other.  It gets lost in a mixed wildflower planting if located too far from the front of the besd or from a walking trail.

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