The purpose of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. This blog presents ideas and information to further the cause of Florida's native plants and ecosystems.
We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to let you know what great programs your kids can enjoy when you attend the FNPS Conference in May. Children 5-14 will be eligible for a wide variety of experiential and entertaining learning opportunities, conducted by educators who will share their own passion for the natural world.
Join the fun for one or two days of eco-fun as we learn about plants, animals, nature, Florida ecology and MORE!
MeetSwamp Girl and a few of her reptilian friends as she shares her adventures rescuing and releasing Florida’s animals.
Take a field trip to the nearby Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. Meet Toni the Eastern Screech Owl, Trouble the Bald Eagle and and other rescued and rehabilitated raptors and learn about their journey to and at the Center from the experts
Learn about waste — how we produce it and how you can reduce it — with Keep Orlando Beautiful.
Ever wonder what cattail tastes like? Or if beautyberries are as sweet as they look? See, touch and taste some of Florida’s incredible edible plants with Peg Lantz, author of The Young Naturalist’s Guide to Florida and Florida’s Incredible Wild Edibles.
Find out where the rain goes as we follow stormwater runoff through an interactive model of the Floridan aquifer.
Explore and experience native plants, animals and ecosystems through hands on activities and games including:
nature scavenger hunt,
making seed balls
role-playing and MORE!
The program runs on Friday and Saturday and includes both classroom and field trip experiences. You can download a complete brochure from the conference page, by clicking on Youth on the left hand side.
So you can bring the kids and everyone will have something meaningful to share on the trip home!
Other Names: Dwarf Mulberry, Beautybush, Filigree, French Mulberry, Beautyberry
Introduction: Purple berries clinging around stems with bright green foliage make Callicarpa americana stand out from late summer to winter. It is easy to see how beautyberry got its common name. Don’t let its looks fool you though; Callicarpa is more than just eye candy. Callicarpa americana is useful medicinally and as food for wildlife and people. American Beautyberry is not fussy about location, soil or light requirements. This tough plant is an American Beauty in every sense of the word. Its name comes from Greek: Kalli, means beautiful; Karpos means fruit.
Historic Medicinal Uses:
Native Americans had many uses for beautberry, both internally and externally. According to Taylor (1940), Native Americans used beautyberry externally as a steam and topical application. All parts of the pla…
Australian pines seem to be everywhere in the coastal regions in the bottom half of Florida. Their name is deceiving because, while they are native to Australia, they aren't pines or even conifers. They are flowering trees with separate male and female flowers, and what look like needles are really green twiglets with close-set circles of tiny leaves that drop at the first sign of a drought. In the photo to the right, the light-colored lines are where leaves where once attached. Most of the photosynthesis takes place in the twiglets.
There are three species of Australian pine (Casuarina spp) that have been imported into Florida for various purposes. They were widely planted to soak up the "swamps" in Florida, stabilize canals, and hold beaches. Unfortunately for Florida's ecosystems, the "pines" accomplished all this and more--like seeding prolifically, growing five feet or more per year, producing dense shade, and emitting an herbicide that kills most a…
These perky natives have numerous and endearing charms. Authors and growers disagree about the proper Latin name, but they are in complete agreement that more people should use more coonties in their landscapes.
What's to like?
Coonties are spritely and graceful in their form, tough as the dickens, bright green all year, and host plant for the beautiful blue atala
hairstreak butterfly. In fact, coonties are the only larval food for atalas. You can use them as specimen or accent plants, mass them together for ground cover, or use them in a line as a border. And to top that off, they have an interesting sex life. A subject we hardly ever get to talk about around here. More on that later. See more in Roger Hammer's 1995 Palmetto article, The Coontie and the Atala Hairstreak.
Slow growers, coonties are more expensive to buy than some other natives by relative size, but don't let that put you off. They are well worth the investment. They can be planted in full sun or fairly …