Savannas Mint, also known as Savannas Balm, (Dicerandra immaculata var. savannarum) is a rare species of flowering plant in the mint family. It’s an ancient species which evolved when Florida was mostly underwater except for a ridge running down the center of the state from the north through the mid portion and a few island points high enough to stay above the water line. The conditions were sandy, hot, dry, and desert-like with little to no tree canopy. When the water levels receded these habitats, which we now call “scrub”, remained and continued to be the natural home of thriving species of animals and plants. Some of these can be found nowhere else on the planet!
Savannas Mint is one of these endemic plants and a small population was discovered in 1995 in a scrub area close to a border of Savannas Preserve State Park (St. Lucie County). This scrub habitat where these plants evolved and had been living for many thousands of years was being cleared for development.
Seeds and cuttings were taken from the doomed plants and grown at the Rare Plant Conservation Program at Bok Tower Gardens, managed by Cheryl Peterson. The new plants were placed back in the protected scrub habitat of Savannas Preserve State Park where they’ve been thriving and will remain protected.
Many of Florida’s state parks are a refuge for rare and endangered plants and animals – another reason to support and protect our Florida State Parks!
To learn more about the rescue of Savannas Mint visit: https://boktowergardens.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Parent-Genotype-and-Environmental.pdf
Scrub habitats: https://floridata.com/tracks/scrub/FloridaScrub.html
Savannas Preserve State Park: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/savannas-preserve-state-park