Large Flower Mexican Clover, Beach Botany

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Large Flower Mexican Clover, Richardia grandiflora, an herbaceous perennial that is one of Florida’s most aggressive invasive pests. This species has multiple prostrate pubescent stems that are connected to deep tap roots. Lanceolate leaves are arranged in pairs along the stems widely separated from one another. Leaf length ½” to ¾” long. Margins are toothed.

Grandiflora has a bell shaped flower with a six-lobed corolla, white to pinkish in color. Diameter is about  ½”.  A wide tunnel is at the center of the corolla that holds 6 greenish male stamens and a female style that extend out of the tunnel. Clusters of flowers occur in leaf axils. Inflorescence is terminal and axillary. Flowers close at night. Blooming is year around. Bees are attracted to the flowers that produce seed pods that quickly form colonies of plants if not controlled.

Grandiflora is not native to Florida. It is a member of the Rubiaceae  (Madder) family. Distribution is in disturbed sites in central and southern counties. There are three other species in the Genus Ricardia, none are native. The specimens in the picture was found in the Dog Track prairie in Bonita Springs.

 

Photo by James Rodwell