Floridata Article

Yellow Scrub Balm (Dicerandra christmanii)

yellow scrub balm
yellow scrub balm

Confined to less than 60 acres of yellow-sand scrub near Sebring, Florida, this rare mint, first described to science in 1989, is close to extinction. It was named in honor of Floridata's own Steve Christman, who first realized that it was a distinct species. Yellow scrub balm (also called Christman's mint or Garrett's mint, after a mid-century botanist from Sebring) is a small woody shrub (up to 1' tall and 2' wide) that blooms in September and October.

Whereas other species of Dicerandra smell like peppermint, this ones smells like camphor. The closely related D. frutescens has been shown to have powerful insecticidal properties but yellow scrub balm has yet to be investigated for possible economic importance. Yellow scrub balm has proven difficult to maintain in cultivation. Recently the US Department of Interior purchased some of the Sebring scrub where this Endangered Species (and several others) occurs for the newly authorized Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge dedicated to plant preservation.

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