Coastal Plain Palafox, Beach Botany

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Palafoxia integrifolia, is found on sandhills, sand pinelands and scrubs in just about every county in the state including Lee County. A member of the Asteraceae family.  Integrifolia grows from a tap root buried in sandy soils. Unlike other Aster species the plant does not grow through a basal rosette. A partially woody and hairy main stem grows to a height of 3’ to 5’. Branching occurs towards the top of the stem. At the base of the main stems glossy green leaves are alternate. Leaf shape is lanceolate, 1” to 3” long and ¼” wide. Margins entire. Leaves growing in branches are much reduced to a narrow linear shape. Several disk tubular florets grow in clusters at the tip of the branches. Inflorescence is terminal. There are no ray florets with this species. Fruit is an achene seed pod. Blooming occurs in the fall.

There are three species in the genus  Palafoxia integrifolia. One species P. texana is native to southern Texas. The specimen in the picture was found on a sand hill next to  Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida.