The U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory will close at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6, due to an official government function. The Conservatory will return to normal hours December 7.
Chionanthus pygmaeus, the pygmy fringe tree, is found only in (endemic to) the sandy soils of dry hammocks and pine forests in central Florida. The pygmy fringe tree depends on fire to maintain the open and exposed conditions it requires. It has adapted the ability to re-sprout from the roots after these historic periodic burns. Much of the habitat of has been lost due to residential development and citrus production. Suppression of the naturally occurring fires has also impeded its growth. As a result, Chionanthus pygmaeus has been listed as endangered, along with other plants occurring in the same habitat, such as Chapman oak, turkey oak, myrtle oak and sand pines. The United States Botanic Garden is working with many others in the protection of this plant species.