CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Warea carteri

Jeff Ripple

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Warea carteri

Common Names: 
Carter's mustard, Carter's pinelandcress, Carter's warea
Growth Habit: 
CPC Number: 


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Warea carterienlarge
Photographer: Jeff Ripple
Image Owner: Personal

Warea carterienlarge
Photographer: Diane Pierce
Image Owner: Personal

Warea carteri is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
S.K. Maddox contributed to this Plant Profile.

Warea carteri

This rare plant was historically much more widespread than it is today. All known populations in Brevard, Broward, Miami-Dade, DeSoto and Glade counties have been extirpated, and the species is now found only on the Lake Wales Ridge in Lake, Polk, and Highlands counties, Florida. The main cause of this decline is due to habitat loss from residential and agriculture development. (Weekely and Menges 2002, USFWS 1999)

Carter's warea is an annual herb that grows to a height of 1.5 meters. These single-stemmed plants usually have many slender, ascending branches that form an open, rounded crown at the top. Leaf size and shape varies with the age and position on the plant, and the lower leaves are lost by the time the plant flowers. Flowers have four white, petals, and are found in dense, rounded racemes containing many flowers (60 or more). The four petals are about 6 mm long, with more than half their length in the form of a slender claw. Flowering occurs in September and October, fruiting in October and November, and dispersal of seeds in November and early December. W. carteri's fruit is a silique, which is a long, slender pod. The pod carries numerous oblong seeds, and the fruits split apart passively to shed the seeds (USFWS 1999).

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
State Range of  Warea carteri
  Warea carteri occurs in scrubby flatwoods and in turkey oak-and hickory- dominated sandhills, and is often found in the ecotone between these two vegetation types. W. carteri is often found in or near yellow sands. Some sites are adjacent to roads, firelanes, or in areas with historic human disturbance. The species appears only after fire. (USFWS 1999)

  Warea carteri is now found only on the Lake Wales Ridge in Lake, Polk, and Highlands counties, Florida. (Weekely & Menges 2002)

Number Left
  • Because this species appears only after fire, population estimates are difficult. Large populations are known in 3 or 4 areas that are managed. (FNAI 2000)


Global Rank:  
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Florida S1S2 LE 4/1/1998  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  • Other scrub endemics are scarce in the dry oak sites where Warea carteri typically occurs. At the ecotone between scrub and high pineland, Carter's warea is seen with scrub buckwheat and scrub plum (USFWS 1999).
• The species does not seem to suffer badly from herbivory or predation by vertebrates or invertebrates, but a small percent of individuals do seem to suffer from the growth of a mold or fungus (USFWS 1999).
• W. carteri seems to respond quickly, strongly, and positively to fire. The plants either appear or bloom after fire (USFWS 1999).
• A great diversity of insects visit the flowers including native solitary bees, bumblebees, syrphids, wasps, flies, beetles, etc (USFWS 1999).
• The species is self-compatible and capable of spontaneous self-fertilization (Weekely & Menges 2002).

  • Habitat loss to residential and agricultural development.
• Trampling by off-road vehicles.
• Restricted to a specialized habitat and small geographic region.
• Lack of periodic fire.
(USFWS 1991)

Current Research Summary
  • The Plant Ecology Lab at Archbold Biological Station has investigated the breeding system and genetics of Carter’s mustard. Evans et al. (2000) studied the genetic diversity and reproductive biology of this species. Using isozymes, they found that much of the diversity detected was found among populations. Based on these results, they suggest that reserve design incorporate the entire range of the species, as each population contains individuals that are genetically unique.
• A number of lab and field germination experiments have been conducted on this species over the last decade. (Weekely & Menges 2002)
• Current research is investigating seedling demography and seedbank dynamics. (Weekely & Menges 2002)

Current Management Summary
  • Annual surveys have been conducted since 1988 at The Nature Conservancy's Tiger Creek Preserve, Archbold Biological Station, and Lake Placid Scrub, and at Lake Wales Ridge State Forest since 1995. (Weekely & Menges 2002)
• Monthly seedling survival surveys have been conducted since 1996 at the State Forest and at Archbold since 1999. (Weekely & Menges 2002)

Research Management Needs
  • Determine current distribution of Warea carteri.
• Manage sites to maintain scrubby flatwoods and turkey oak dominated high pine to support W. Carteri.
• Protect and enhance existing populations.
• Conduct research on life history characteristics of W. carteri.
• Monitor existing populations.
• Provide public information about W. carteri.
• Prevent degradation of existing habitat.
• Restore areas to suitable habitat.
(USFWS 1999)

Ex Situ Needs
  • Conserve germplasm.
(USFWS 1999)


Books (Single Authors)

Coile, N.C. 2000. Notes on Florida's Regulated Plant Index (Rule 5B-40), Botany Contribution 38. Gainesville, Florida: Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry.

FNAI. 2000. Field Guide to the Rare Plants and Animals of Florida online. Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

Hall, David W. 1993. Illustrated plants of Florida and the coastal plain. Gainesville, FL: Maupin House. 431p.

Long, R.W.; Lakela, O. 1976. A Flora of Tropical Florida: A Manual of the Seed Plants and Ferns of Southern Peninsular Florida. Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami Press. 962p.

Small, J.K. 1933. Manual of the southeastern flora. New York, NY: Hafner Publishing Company. 1505p.

Wunderlin, R.P. 1998. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. 806p.

Books (Sections)

Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In: Kartesz, J.T.; Meacham, C.A., editors. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden. Chapel Hill, NC.

Menges, Eric S.; Pace-Aldana, B.; Slapcinsky, J. 2000. Monitoring Carter's mustard (Warea carteri) at Tiger Creek Preserve. In: Gordon, D.R.; Slapcinsky, J.L., editors. Annual Research Report: A Compilation of Research Conducted or Supported by The Nature Conservancy in Florida. Florida Science and Stewardship Programs and The Nature Conservancy.

Myers, R.L. 1990. Scrub and High Pine. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL.

Electronic Sources

(2002). Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. [Web site] University of South Florida Institute for Systematic Botany. http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu/isb/default.htm. Accessed: 2008.

Denton, S. (2001). Photo Library of Native and Naturalized Plants of Florida. Biological Research Associates. http://www.biolresearch.com/Plants/index.php?id=C. Accessed: 2002.

Weekley, C.W.; Menges, E.S. (2002). Plant Ecology Lab: Warea carteri Species Account. ¬ Archbold Biological Station. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

Abrahamson, W.G.; Johnson, A.F.; Layne, J.N.; Peroni, P.A. 1984. Vegetation of the Archbold Biological Station: an example of the southern Lake Wales Ridge. Florida Scientist. 47: 209-250.

Al-Shebaz, I.A. 1985. The genera of the Thelypodieae (Cruciferae; Brassicaceae) in the southeastern United States. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 66: 95-111.

Channel, R.B.; James, C.W. 1964. Nomenclatural and taxonomic corrections in Warea (Cruciferae). Rhodora. 66: 18-26.

Evans, M.E.K.; Dolan, R.W.; Menges, E.S. 2000. Genetic diversity and reproductive biology in Warea carteri (Brassicaceae), a narrowly endemic Florida scrub annual. American Journal of Botany. 87, 3: 372-381.

Menges, E.S.; Dolan, R.W.; Yahr, R.; Gordon, D.R. 2001. Comparative genetics of seven plants endemic to Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge. Castanea. 66: 98-114.

Menges, E.S.; Gordon, D.R. 1996. Three levels of monitoring intensity for rare plant species. Natural Areas Journal. 16, 3: 227-237.

Small, J.K. 1909. Additions to the flora of peninsular Florida. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 36: 159–164.

USFWS. 1986. 18 Plants Proposed for Listing Protection. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 11, 5: 1-13.

USFWS. 1987. Determination of endangered or threatened status for seven Florida scrub plants. Federal Register. 52, 13: 2227-2234.

USFWS. 1988. Regional News. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 13, 1: 3.

USFWS. 1988. Regional News--Region 4. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 13, 1: 3.

Villa-Lobos, J. 1999. South Florida Multi-Species Recovery Plan. Plant Talk, Plant Conservation Worldwide. No. 18: 15.


Kral, R. 1983. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. Athens, GA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service. p.1305. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical.

Martin, D.; Hardin, E.D. 1991. Florida Scrub Plants. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Florida Division of Forestry.

Menges, E.S. 1995. Monitoring report for Warea carteri. Unpublished document. Vero Beach, Florida: The Nature Conservancy, Florida Chapter. On file at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Nauman, C.E. 1980. Status report on Warea carteri Small. Pages 743-756 in D. Austin. Flora and Fauna of South Florida. Jacksonville, Florida: Unpublished report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

USFWS. 1989. Recovery plan for eleven Florida scrub plants. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.64.

USFWS. 1996. Recovery Plan for Nineteen Central Florida Scrub and High Pineland Plants (revised). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.134.

USFWS. 1999. South Florida Multi-species Recovery Plan. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region.

Weekley, Carl. 1995. Warea carteri Monitoring Report. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl. 1996. Warea carteri Monitoring Report #2. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl. 1997. Warea carteri Annual Survey Report #3. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

Weekley, Carl. 1997. Warea carteri Seedling Survivorship Project. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Division of Forestry: Statewide Endangered and Threatened Plant Conservation Program.

  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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