Florida Pennyroyal

Florida (or wild or false) Pennyroyal (Piloblephis rigida) is a native plant in the mint family that grows in Split Oak Forest. It grows into pretty obvious mounds and usually flowers in the spring. It can be used to make a delicious tea or mixed drink. You’ll find it throughout peninsular Florida in the dryer upland plant communities while hiking, as well as in native plant enthusiasts’ yards. You can find this plant for sale at native nurseries like Green Isle Gardens in Groveland and The Natives in Davenport1

Florida Pennyroyal photographed by Valerie Anderson found near Lake Two in Split Oak Forest WEA, March 3, 2018.

Florida Pennyroyal used to be a reliable nectar plant for honeybees, but is no longer. Central Florida beekeepers that I’ve spoken to aren’t aware of it as a nectar plant2. As a member of the mint family, its flowers are easily accessible to honeybees.

I have personally observed Florida Pennyroyal twice in Split Oak Forest, once this past Saturday near Lake Two and last November I saw it without flowers in the Osceola part. iNaturalist has two other observations in Split Oak Forest. The USF Herbarium has four vouchered specimens in Orange and Osceola counties, the earliest from 1952, pictured below.

USF Herbarium specimen of Piloblephis rigida collected by George R. Cooley, 1952
  1. Please see Hawthorne Hill’s blog post, the Florida Wildflower Foundation article, and the Florida Native Plant Society article for more information on growing Florida Pennyroyal.
  2. South Florida beekeepers might have better luck as indicated by this EDIS publication by Jamie Ellis

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