Feay’s Palafox

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Feay was a 19th century botanist who gets the credit for the identification of a lanky six foot high plant that was eventually named for him.   The Palafoxia feayii, is a member of the prolific Aster family. Feayii is a perennial shrub. Its main stem is partial woody  and partially herbaceous.  Ovate to elliptic leaves 1 to 2 inches in length are alternate and widely spaced on the main stem. Margins are smooth. Some secondary branching occurs near the top.

At the tips of the branches are clusters of flower heads.  A flower head is composed of a deep receptacle with 15 to 30 tubular flowers each about ½” in length. There are no ray florets. Flower color is a dull white with some deep red tinges.  A female stigma and a pair of white curled male stamens are visible at the flower tip.

Feayii’s habitat are sand hills and pine scrubs in 24 counties in southern and central Florida. It is also endemic to Florida. This specimen was found in the pine scrub at Koreshan State Park where lately I have been spending some time.