Field trip to Torreya State Park with Gil Nelson: Part 1
|The needle palms dotted the woods.|
The saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is much more widespread. You can see the triangle at the top of the stalk and you can also see that the leaf sections are connected farther out from the stalk.
|In case you wanted to know why|
they are called needle palms...
It's those sharp needles!
|Saw palmetto for comparison|
|A Pine Woods Snake|
This Florida redbellysnake (Storeria occipitomaculata) was warming itself on the sandy trail.
Magnolia grandiflora) is not a cone, but a woody aggregate fruit made up of many follicles, the seeds of which are covered with bright red fleshy coatings that attract birds. There are four magnolias species growing in Torreya State Park. In addition to the southern magnolia, there are Ashe's magnolia (M. macrophylla var. ashei), and pyramid magnolia (M. pyramidata), which are limited to the panhandle in Florida, plus the wide-spread sweet bay magnolia (M. virginiana). We saw them all, plus we also saw some tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera), which belong to the magnolia family.
|What is everyone looking at on the ground?|
|There are beechdrops|
under the beech trees.
Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana) are parasitic flowering plants that lack leaves and produce no chlorophyll. They are only found in the vicinity of beech trees (Fagus grandifolia). In Florida they are limited to the panhandle.
Here Gil shows us how to identify the green haw by the bark and thorns on the trunk. It's always good to have a definitive marker.
We didn't see the spider, which is related to tarantulas, but saw several of the tube-shaped webs at the base of trees. The spiders hide in the tubes and pop out the trap door on top and drag their prey into the tubes. the female raise their babies in the tubes, too. Who knew?
part 2 where we talk about the plant that gave Torreya State park its name, find some boy scouts, and point out excellent trees for fall color.