Croker’s Beach Creeper, Beach Botany

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Croker’s Beach Creeper, Ernodea cokeri is a prostrate shrub with several woody vine-like square stems and red nodes. A perennial herb Corkeri’s height is about 8” to 12”.  Leaves are leathery and opposite on the stems. Leave shape is a narrow lanceolate. With a slight curve and a single main vein. Leaf length 1” to1 ½.’’  Width 1/8”. Margins are entire. Tiny flowers occur from leaf axils. Inflorescence is solitary. Flower’s corolla has 4 reddish curled petals. Four green stamens project from the center of the corolla along with a lengthy white female style. Diameter of the flower is about 3/8th of an inch.

Cokeri is an endangered species, It is distributed natively in the Pinelands and hammocks of Miami Dade County and nowhere else. Family is the Rubiacaae (Madder) Family. Cokeri  is a species in the genus Ernodea which also includes the species Littoralis which is the much larger Beach Creeper that was featured here a few months ago. This Cokeri  Specimen was acquired from the SCCF nursery on Sanibel and planted in my garden, where it grew for some time and I forgot what it was until it started to flower. I recognized the flower and traced it to Genus Ernodea. Now that’s morphology.