The original name of Volusia Pawpaw Chapter came about because the little "Volusia Pawpaw," Deeringothamnus rugelii. Also known as Yellow Squirrel Banana or Rugel's Pawpaw, it is found only in Volusia County. Rugel's Pawpaw is a member of the Annonaceae or Custard family. There are two species in this genus, and both are listed as endangered, have limited ranges, and are found only in Florida. A specific arrangement of soil type, moisture, and fire regimen limit the range of these species. Deeringothamnus pulchellus is located in Orange and Charlotte counties. Pawpaw chapter member Paul Rebmann's photos of Rugel's Pawpaw can be seen at wildflphoto.com. Rugel's Pawpaw has alternate, entire and leathery oblong leaves that may grow to 7 cm. Small flowers are produced in the spring and are pale yellow with 6 petals and 3 sepals born on auxiliary stalks. Rugel's Pawpaw occurs along the edges of poorly drained pine flatwoods or disturbed areas. Listed below are reference sources for more information.
Helkowski, J. H. and E.M. Norman. 1997. Effects of Fire on an Endangered Florida Plant, Deeringothamnus rugelii. Florida Scientist 60 (2): 118-123.
Norman, E.M. 1993. Recovery Plan for Rugel's Pawpaw. U.S. Fish and Wildlife, unpublished report.
Kral, R. 1960. A Revision of Asimina and Deeringothamnus (Annonaceae). Brittonia 12:233-278.
Starting in 2012 the Pawpaw Chapter began a citizens science project they call Rugel's Roundup, led by chapter member Danny Young. The first years consisted of surveys to document existing populations and determine the natural extent of the range of this Volusia county endemic. In 2016, Rugel's Roundup was an FNPS Conference field trip, providing the opportunity for FNPS members from around the state to learn about Deeringothamnus rugelii and participate in the survey. The last several years the project has evolved into a collaboration between the Pawpaw Chapter, Young Bear Environmental Consulting, Bok Tower Gardens’ Rare Plant Conservation Program, Missouri Botanical Garden, the Florida Forest Service and other organizations in a scientific study to better understand and protect this rare species. This has evolved to include detailed site surveys and tissue-sample collection for both propagation and cyropreservation. Clonal plants from this propagation will be used to establish new populations on protected land. We are also working with private landowners on how to best manage areas with Rugel's Pawpaw on their property.