Clinopodium ashei - (Weatherby) Small
Ashe's Savory
Other English Common Names: Ashe's Calamint
Other Common Names: Ashe's calamint
Synonym(s): Calamintha ashei (Weatherby) Shinners
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Clinopodium ashei (Weatherby) Small (TSN 511159)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.148431
Element Code: PDLAM08020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Mint Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Lamiales Lamiaceae Clinopodium
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Calamintha ashei
Taxonomic Comments: Distinct species. Clinopodium ashei of Kartesz (1999) was treated in Kartesz (1994) as Calamintha ashei.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Dec1997
Global Status Last Changed: 15Nov1984
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Endemic to the Florida central highlands and southeastern Georgia, Calamintha ashei is locally common: there are between 60 to 80 occurrences. Threats include development and agriculture.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Florida (S3), Georgia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Occurs in Highlands, Polk, Marion, Volusia counties, Florida; also reported from Lake and Orange counties and in one county in Georgia.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Seventy-one known occurrences (10/90).

Population Size Comments: Dominant ground cover in some rosemary balds.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat threatened by development and agriculture (primarily citrus industry).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Invades disturbed areas where soils are not drastically altered.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Occurs in Highlands, Polk, Marion, Volusia counties, Florida; also reported from Lake and Orange counties and in one county in Georgia.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL, GA

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Alachua (12001)*, Highlands (12055), Marion (12083), Polk (12105)
GA Candler (13043), Tattnall (13267)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Ohoopee (03070107)+, Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Kissimmee (03090101)+, Western Okeechobee Inflow (03090103)+, Peace (03100101)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A bushy, pungently aromatic shrub with pinkish purple flowers.
Technical Description: A bushy, pungently aromatic shrub mostly 5 dm tall or less. Stems with shallowly cracked, pale gray brown bark that peels away in thin strips, the newer shoots numerous, ascending or erect, slender but stiffish, slightly if at all angled, downy with numerous fine short hairs, greenish or greenish-brown. Leaves linear to narrowly obovate, mostly 1 cm long or somewhat less, acute, the margins entire, strongly revolute, the bases mostly acute or cuneate, the surfaces gray-green with a down of fine hairs, with small glistening glands. Inflorescence flowers produced opposite the axils of all or most upper leaves on ascending, downy hairy stalks about 3 mm long, these with a pair of linear-lanceolate bracts at their bases. Flower calyx about 6 mm long, tube narrowly campanulate-cylindrical, dull green, downy, 10-ribbed, about 3 mm long. Corolla strongly bilabiate, about 1 cm long, the tube and throat rather slender, 6-7 mm long, whitish to pale lavender-rose, the corolla surface finely hairy outside. Stamens 4, in 2 lengths of 2, the filaments arching up under the upper corolla lobe but not beyond it, the anthers short-oblong, dark purple. Fruit nutlets broadly ovoid, nearly round, pale brown, nearly smooth, about 1.5 mm long (Kral, 1983).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Most similar to Calamintha dentata, a very rank smelling shrub confined to northwestern Florida which has broader, somewhat larger, usually cuneate-obovate leaves that have at least some teeth toward the apex (Kral, 1983).

Another similar species, Conradina canescens, occurs in Polk and Highlands counties. Leaves are conspicuously, densely, short gray-pubescent on both surfaces, with the leaf glands obscured by the pubescence. The leaves often have leafy, short branchlets in their axils, with the leaves of the branchlets shorter than those subtending them. Flowers occur in 1 to 5-flowered cymes in the leaf axils; usually not all flowers are open simultaneously (Godfrey 1988).

Ecology Comments: Calamintha ashei, a perennial shrub, is most commonly found in openings in sand pine scrub, but also can be found in disturbed areas such as fire lanes, road shoulders, and abandoned fields. It flowers intermittently from January to April, and more rarely until autumn (Wunderlin 1982, Kral 1983, Menges and Salzman 1992).

Plants are killed by fire, and presumably are also unable to resprout if aboveground vegetation is killed during any other type of disturbance. Seeds have no obvious dispersal mechanism, and drop beneath the parent plants. Although plants flower and produce seeds yearly, seedlings are not present in undisturbed communities. Seedlings, however, can be found in recently disturbed areas, and usually appear during the second winter after a fire (Carrington unpubl. data, Race pers. communication), presumably after germinating from a soil seed bank. Dormancy mechanisms and germination requirements for seeds are unknown; however, most seed germination appears to occur in microsites with little or no litter.

Although plants can be found in long-undisturbed communities with relatively closed canopies, flowering is usually sparse, and the plants are probably in decline. Kral (1983) suggested that the plants are "shaded out" as canopies close. He also suggested that timber management practices such as bulldozing, root raking, thinning the overstory, or cutting the overstory would benefit populations, but bedding or roller chopping would be detrimental.

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest/Woodland, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Dry pinelands and sand pine scrub in canopy openings and disturbed areas.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Stewardship Overview: Although not globally imperiled, this plant is restricted to often small, disjunct patches of sand pine scrub. The major threat to populations is destruction of habitat through development or conversion to orange groves. Management of populations through controlled burning or otherwise opening up the canopy and exposing bare soil may be beneficial as it frequently invades abandoned sandy fields or powerine clearings. It may also seed into young plantations of pine, being shaded out later as the crowns close (Kral 1983).
Restoration Potential: Restoration potential is good, provided habitat protection continues to increase. Within the species' range, land acquisition by the state is ongoing (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1995), and acquisition for the proposed Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge has begun (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993).

In sites where restoration through propagation is desirable, propagation from cuttings may be done. Rooting success from cuttings taken at Bok Tower Gardens was 90-95%. Cuttings were placed in perlite in a greenhouse and misted daily. After rooting, cuttings were transplanted to outside beds. Attempts to germinate seeds in the greenhouse for propagation, however, were unsuccessful (Race pers. communication).

Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: If controlled burning is to be the desired management tool, a preserve should be large enough to feasibly use controlled burning as a management tool. Juxtaposition to other landowners and land uses should be such that controlled burning will not threaten property or safety.
Management Requirements: It seems that controlled burning is beneficial to the species, but may not be imperative for effective management. Other management practices that open the canopy and expose bare soil (e.g., clear cutting, root raking) may provide opportunities for increased flowering and/or seedling establishment.

For sites where controlled burning is feasible, optimal fire frequency is not known. The species, however, seems to share several life history characteristics, and is often found in the same sites with the better-understood Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides). Florida rosemary adults are also killed by fire, and this species is extirpated from sites burned more frequently than every ten years (Johnson 1982). A target fire frequency for Calamintha ashei probably should also be every ten years or less.

Monitoring Requirements: Eric Menges has been monitoring Dicerandra frutescens, another perennial shrub mint, at Archbold Biological Station for seven years, and will begin monitoring Dicerandra christmanii using a similar protocol. Since growth form and ecology of the shrubby mints seem to share some similarities, methods used in a Calamintha ashei monitoring program might be similar to those used for Dicerandra, as summarized below.

Permanent 1m x 1m quadrats were randomly located (even if some quadrats contained no mints) within the area occupied by the population. At the beginning of the study, several types of measurements were taken of the plants (e.g., basal stem diameter, number of flowering branches, total number of branches, plant height, plant canopy length, and plant canopy width). A regression was done to determine which of the variables measured best predicted total aboveground biomass per plant and number of flowers per plant (considered indicators of plant vigor and potential reproduction). For Dicerandra frutescens the best predictors were basal stem diameter, total number of branches, and number of flowering branches; these variables then were measured yearly during flowering. In addition, recruitment, number and size of seedlings (up to a year old) and survival of all Dicerandra plants were quantified quarterly (Menges pers. communication).

Predictors of total biomass and number of flowers per plant and optimum monitoring frequency may be different for Calamintha ashei. Predictors and temporal demographic patterns could be established early in the study by measuring many variables per plant for regression, and by sampling frequently; number of variables measured and sampling frequency could probably then be reduced.

Management Programs: No active management for this species is known.
Monitoring Programs: No monitoring programs are known for this species.
Management Research Programs: No known management research is being conducted involving this species.
Management Research Needs: Several research questions should be addressed so that populations can be effectively managed:

What population trends result from different land management procedures (e.g., burning, clearcutting, root raking, roller chopping, no disturbance)?

What are habitat and disturbance characteristics (e.g., light availability, litter depth, fire frequency, woody plant cover, amount of bare ground) of vigorous populations?

Under what conditions do the seeds germinate?

What are the pollinators?

How long does it take a plant to reach sexual maturity?

Additional topics: A study is underway that might result in a name change for the species. Reed Cook, who has just started work on the taxonomy of Conradina and Calamintha, says that Calamintha will probably be put into the genus Diodeilis. Conradina may also be merged with Calamintha, meaning that both might become Diodeilis. Results may be available from his work in 6 to 10 months. Name changes, if required, will be made in a couple of years (Crook pers. communication).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Jun1991
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: D.L. White
Management Information Edition Date: 12Mar1995
Management Information Edition Author: MARY E. CARRINGTON
Management Information Acknowledgments: Crook, Reed W., personal communication. Department of Botany, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 (706) 542-1823 [].

Menges, Eric S., personal communication. Archbold Biological Station, P.O. Box 2057, Lake Placid, FL 33852 (813) 465-2571 [].

Race, Tamara, personal communication. Bok Tower Gardens, P.O. Box 3810, Lake Wales, FL 33859-3810 (813) 676-1408.

Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 20May1992

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Christman, S.P. 1988. Endemism and Florida's interior sand pine scrub. Final project report on project #GFC-84-101 to Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee, Florida. 247 pp. + maps, tables & appendices.

  • Godfrey, R.K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. 734 pp.

  • Johnson, A. F. 1982. Some demographic characteristics of the the Florida rosemary Ceratiola ericoides Michx. Amer. Midl. Nat. 108: 170-174.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Kral, R. 1983c. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2, Athens, GA. 1305 pp.

  • Kral, Robert. Not Dated. Paper 88. Calamintha ashei.

  • McCollum, J.L., and D.R. Ettman. 1987. Georgia's protected plants. Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Social Circle, GA. 64 pp.

  • Menges, E. S., and V. T. Salzman. 1992. Archbold Biological Station plant list.

  • Shinners, L. H. 1962c. Calamintha (Labiatae) in the southern United States. Sida 1:69-75.

  • Small, J.K. 1933. Manual of the southeastern flora. Two volumes. Hafner Publishing Company, New York.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1993. Final environmental assessment and land protection plan, proposed establishment of Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, Highlands and Polk counties, Florida. Southeast Region, Atlanta, GA.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1995. Draft recovery plan for nineteen central Florida scrub and high pineland plants (revised). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, GA.

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Univ. Presses Florida, Gainesville. 472 pp.

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