is confined to rich upland woods or well-drained floodplains that are never more than temporarily inundated. It is Florida's largesi member of the genus. Tiie white under-surfaces of its leaflets in conjunction with its drier habitat distinguishes this nee from ail of our other ashes.
The remaining three ashes include ihe Carolina or pop ash (/-. caroliniana), the green ash (F. pennsylvanicaK and the pumpkin ash < /. profunda). All are very similar and extremely difficult to separate. Detailed differences in the leaf stalks and fruits are the most effective means for assigning a particular individual to species. Notes and visual cues about these differences are found in the descriptions and illustrations that are provided in Part IL In addition, for those botanizing in south Florida, the pop ash is the only member of the genus likely to be encountered and should be an easy tree to identify.
The oilier four genera in the olive family include the fringe tree (Chionanthus), the devilwoods (Osmanthus)f and the privets (Forestiera and Ligustrum). Of these, the little fringe tree (C, virginicus) is probably the most striking and best known representative. especially when in flower. In early spring this handsome tree puts out masses of fragrant, pendulous flowers, each with four linear, creamy white petals that dangle in the breeze. This striking inflorescence has earned the tree several of its common names, not the least descriptive of which include old-man s-beard and grandsie-gray-beard. The fringe tree is well known across most of the eastern United States and is often used to decorate southern lawns.
At least one, and possibly two. species of devil wood, or wild olive, occur in Florida. Osmanthus americanus is the more common of the two and is most notable for its dark purplish, single-stoned, olivelike drupe. It is found in a wide diversity of habitats from sandy woodlands to swamps and hammocks. In addition, some authors recognize a second plant known variousl) as ()m mcgacarpa or O. amehcana var. megacarpa. As its species name suggests, this latter plant has larger fruit than the former—generally larger than 2 cm in length as opposed to generally shorter than 1.5 cm. It is frequent in its habitat but is apparently restricted solely to the sand scrub of the central peninsula, southward to about Highlands County, Although both have rather nondescript, elliptical leaves, they are only two of a relatively few species with a similar range that hear such leaves in an opposite arrangement
Florida's two tree-sized ligustrums are primarily ornamental species that have been imported from Asia. They are often used as hedges or background plants in large gardens, but have become sparingly naturalized. They are widely sold and are generally available in commercial nurseries. The wax-leaf ligustrum, or glossy privet (Ligustrum iucidum), is a fast-growing species with opposite, dark green leaves and tiny, white, fragrant flowers, l! is beautiful in the fall when its hanging clusters of blue-black fruit mature, Phe Chinese privet (L. sinense), has much smaller leaves than the former species hut grows to greater heights- It is generally found naturalized near abandoned homesites hui may also become established along small stream courses. In these latter situations it can become quite prolific and is often considered to be an objectionable weed.
The genus Forestiera encompasses four species in Florida, only three of which are generally agreed to reach treelike proportions. However, the shrubby species, F. ligus-trina, sometimes exhibits several long, curv ing main stems that sometimes reach up to about 4 m in length and may also be considered as treelike by at least some observers, As a result, all four species have been included in Part II. Worldwide, the genus is composed of about 20 species that range from Brazil northward through Mexico, the West Indies, and into (he southern I Jnited States,
Was this article helpful?