Toll Roads Analysis - Detailed Assessment of Impacts on Native Plants and Native Plant Communities

by Eugene Kelly, Policy and Legislation Chair
Florida Native Plant Society

Have you heard about the “M-CORES Project”? If not, you may want to start paying attention because it will affect communities across much of Florida and will certainly impact native plants and native plant communities. Short for Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, the project proposes to build more than 330 miles of new toll roads through huge swaths of rural land for the stated purpose of promoting economic development. The projects were proposed by the Florida Legislature and are not purported to meet any transportation need identified or vetted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The Suncoast Connector would extend from the northern end of the existing Suncoast Parkway a distance of at least 160 miles to the Georgia border in Jefferson County. The Northern Turnpike Connector would extend about 30 miles, from the current northern terminus of the Turnpike to the Suncoast…

Call for Abstracts - 2020 Conference Jacksonville

Call for Research Track Papers and Poster Presentations
The Florida Native Plant Society Annual Conference will be held at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, May 14-17, 2020. The Research Track of the Conference will include presented papers and a poster session on Friday May 15 and Saturday May 16.

Researchers are invited to submit abstracts on research related to native plants and plant communities of Florida including preservation, conservation, and restoration. Presentations are planned to be 20 minutes in total length (15 min. presentation, 5 min. questions).

Abstracts of not more than 200 words should be submitted as a MS Word file by email to Paul A. Schmalzer by February 1, 2020. Include title, affiliation, and address. Indicate whether you will be presenting a paper or poster.

Alexander Springs- Exploring the Timucuan Trail

All photos, video, and article by Mark Kateli, Cuplet Fern Chapter President
The Timucuan trail primarily treks northeast of the famous spring. It winds through diverse riparian, wetland, and transitional xeric hammock plant communities that are accessible through boardwalk and cleared paths.

The synergism of environmental interests was thick as the 100% humidity on a summer morning. It’s always an exciting time when nature enthusiasts come together. Every person attending had a story, an experience, or something to add to the conversation about plants and animals. David Rakes and Lavon Silvernell, our field trip leaders, shared their ecology knowledge with the people in the front and back of the group respectively. While traversing mucky areas, John Benton led a third splinter group of people that wanted to stay dry. The experience left all of us feeling grateful and happy that we took the time to travel to this special place.
Above: The arboreal manatee treesnail, Drymaeus dormani,…

Florida Native Plant Society Purchases 12.5 Acres to Protect Endangered Species

PO Box 278
Melbourne, FL 32902

Valerie Anderson, Director of Communications and Programming
Phone: 386.852.2539 | Email:

Florida Native Plant Society Purchases 12.5 Acres to Protect Endangered Species

With generous private donations and grant awards from the Felburn Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, the Florida Native Plant Society completed the purchase of 12.5 acres of rare sandhill habitat in Marion County that will help protect the critically endangered plant Clasping warea (Warea amplexifolia) and the federally threatened Florida Sand Skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi). Marion County is home to the largest population of Clasping Warea and one of the northernmost occurrences of the Florida Sand Skink.

In 2014, the Florida Native Plant Society and Putnam Land Conservancy formed a partnership to acquire and preserve an approximately 400 acre corridor of lands to protect rare and endemic species (found only i…

National Moth Week: Time to Wrap It Up

Well, folks, this is it: The final day of National Moth Week 2019. Thanks for following along with us as we explored these flying beauties that help make this planet such a great place to hang out.

Their role in diverse ecosystems benefits so many other species, from the many native plants they pollinate to the songbirds that feed them to their young. And their beautiful presence certainly provides humans joy when, say, a huge green Luna moth flutters across a summer porch or a dainty Ornate Bella moth skitters underfoot in the grass.

There’s still so much to be learned about the moth world. For example, it was thought for years that only one moth pollinated the legendary ghost orchids of the Everglades, but earlier this month National Geographic shared news about a variety of sphinx moths slurping nectar from the blooms.

If you haven’t had a chance to go moth hunting yet, there’s still time. According to National Moth Week, “Studying moths at night is as simple as turning on a porch…

National Moth Week: Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris thysbe)

On a springtime hike at Little Big Econ State Forest (Seminole County, Central Florida), my companions and I spotted a hummingbird moth working its way from thistle plant to thistle plant. I clicked my camera’s shutter button while standing as still as possible. The morning light was perfect, and the moth was not shy. It ended up next to me on a tall thistle, and the above image is one of the resulting photos.

The hummingbird moth—along with the similarly named hummingbird hawk moth that lacks transparent wing spots—is a member of the sphinx moth family (Sphingidae), which also includes the Pluto Sphinx moth. These creatures resemble hummingbirds in both their shapes and movement as they hover while sipping nectar from blossoms. The beating of their wings can even make a humming noise, similar to that of the birds.

You can attract the moths to your neighborhood with both nectar and larval host plants. These plump moths seek out host plants such as honeysuckle, snowberry, hawthorns, c…

National Moth Week: Io Moth (Automeris io)

When a kid, I learned a bit about mythology through my Golden Guides on insects, butterflies, and moths. These small, battered reference books went with me most every time I explored the fields and woods around my house, and they helped instill a lifelong interest in entomology.

Why am I telling you this? Because that’s how I learned about the Io moth, a beauty named after a mythological Greek maiden, according to my trusty guide. However, according to subsequent research, Io was more than a simple maiden—she was a goddess, first priestess of Hera and wife of Zeus, god of thunder and lightning. That’s kind of a big deal.

The Io moth is kind of a big deal, too, with its beautiful wing spots, attractive coloration, and wingspan up to more than 3 inches, not to mention it’s the moth of choice for the National Moth Week logo. Part of the Saturniidae family, which includes the largest moths in North America (including Luna and Polyphemus moths), the Io moth shares several traits with its …