The Endemic Rosemary Scrub

A view of a rosemary scrub bush.

The rosemary scrub, also called Florida rosemary, is a bush-like plant that grows in scrub environments. This rare plant community is endemic to Florida, meaning that it can only be found in this state. Although the name may suggest otherwise, it is not related to the rosemary that is used for cooking and is not edible.

One of the characteristics that makes this plant special is that it has adapted to the harsh scrub environment. Scrub environments are dry, which means that all the plants in the area thrive with very little water. The leaves of the rosemary scrub conserve their water by reducing the amount of evaporation that occurs. You can pick out bunches of rosemary scrub plants against the landscape by their green needle-like leaves. The plants stand out starkly against the sandy ground and can grow to over three feet tall.

This plant is essential for the survival of several bug species. The rosemary grasshopper feeds exclusively on the leaves of the plant. The cotton fleahopper, a rare plant bug, prefers to live on the small flowers that grow on the rosemary scrub. Additionally, burrowing wolf spiders prefer the openness of the rosemary scrub as their habitat.

The rosemary scrub is a unique part of the Florida landscape. It is a beautiful plant that is an integral part of the scrub environment. Prescribed burning, research and preservation helps this plant continue to thrive.