Short-leaved Rosemary (Conradina brevifolia)
This Endangered little shrub (3-4' tall with a similar spread) is restricted to a few scrubs along a 20-mile stretch of US-27 between Sun Ray and Sebring in Polk and Highlands Counties. One of the best places to see it is along the east side of the highway just south of Sun Ray. Short-leaved rosemary is in the mint family (Lamiaceae) and looks very much like true rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), the culinary herb also in the mint family. Short-leaved rosemary is not related to Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides), a common plant in scrubs throughout Florida in the obscure crowberry family (Empetraceae). The foliage of short-leaved rosemary has a "turpentiney" fragrance and the delightful little flowers (about 1" high) look like tiny birds. Short-leaved rosemary adapts well to cultivation as long as light, sandy soil and full sun are provided. It is available from several native nurseries in central Florida.