Preserving, conserving, and restoring the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.



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Friday, April 29, 2011

A Tribute to Saw Palmettos

Serenoa repens, the hardy Saw palmetto, found throughout our fair state and in the logo for the Florida Native Plant Society, is a tough and versatile plant. It is in rampant bloom right now, reminding the Jolly Bloggers that they have been meaning to do an "appreciation" post on it for some time now. So let's do it!


Wikipedia is almost never a resource for us here, but I must admit I was interested in the name of this plant, and found no information from our usually mentioned resources. I discovered over there that 'Serenoa' was used as a way of honoring the American botanist, Sereno Watson, who otherwise had nothing whatsoever to do with the plant as far as I could discover. 'Repens' is latin for "unexpected, or surprised." And so I was. Surprised. I had expected the name to tell something about the plant!


Serenao repens, saw palmetto in a yard
The name 'Saw palmetto,' on the other hand, does tell something about the plant. The petiole, which is the leaf stem, is sharp with teeth which saw right  through your skin if you forget about them and try to push through a clump, or to pull vines off it with bare arms! 


Here is a sequence of the marvelous blooms we are seeing at this point in the year. The blooms are tightly closed at first.
The branch of blooms is  called an  inflorescense

close up of blooming saw palmetto
the tiny flowers begin to open

the sprays of blooms are lovely additions in springtime
d
Bartram's hairstreak
There is no app or icon or anything else to convey fragrance, so you just have to imagine the sweet scent of these blossoms filling the air all around them. Palmettos are nectar plants for Bartram's scrub-hairstreak (Strymon acis), atala (Euphyes arpa) and others. They are a larval host plant for monk skipper  (Asbolis capucinus), and palmetto skipper (Eumaeses arpa).


Palmettos also provide significant cover and food for a number of birds and other wildlife - turkeys, deer, bear among them. They are easy, easy to keep in a landscape, with a high tolerance for drought once established. In natural areas, palmettos are kept free of vines, such as muscadine, by periodic fires. If you have palmettos in a kept-garden, you will have to act like a fire every so often to keep
vines from covering the palmetto.  Some people like to maintain these plants by scalping them thusly:
naked saw palmettos
To me, these plants look naked and tortured. However, as a kind landscape friend of mine once pointed out, it may be that the owners like to see the structure. Even treated like this these palmettos have managed to put out blooms. A single specimen in your yard will grow almost straight up; these plants grew at angles as they competed and reached up for sunlight. The palmetto really prefers full sun, but will grow in partial sun, too. 


straight across: it's a saw palmetto
You probably already know how to tell a saw palmetto from a sabal, or cabbage, palm. The tip off is at the tip of the petiole.


persisting up into the leaf: it's a sabal palm
The palmetto is found in green and silver forms, but both are called by the same formal name. The silver ones are frequently found in more coastal areas, where it is speculated that they may be exuding a wax to help protect themselves from salt. However, the silver types do crop up in the inland areas as well. The saw palmetto is beautiful in natural settings. Here is a saw palmetto in a coastal scrub natural area; note the interesting contrast in leaf texture between the saw palmetto, wax myrtle, oaks, and myrsine.
saw palmetto composition by Nature


sue dingwell

Monday, April 25, 2011

Florida Hawthorns Are Hidden Treasures

I have never hidden my great love of hawthorns (Crataegus spp.).  I am unabashedly fond of them for a great many reasons and I have promoted their use in Florida landscapes for more than 20 years.  My love of haws comes from both their beauty and utility; traits that make them especially useful in landscapes designed for wildlife and for aesthetics.  And, given the large number of native species possible, there are excellent choices for nearly every setting likely to be encountered.

Hawthorns belong to the Rose Family, along with the plums, cherries, serviceberries, and crabapples.  Roses are revered for their beautiful 5-petal flowers, which are often present in the spring, and the production of nutritious fruit, generally high in vitamin C.  Florida’s hawthorns all produce white blooms; either solitary, in small clusters, or in large masses across the canopy.  The fruit are
Green haw: small flower clusters
variable in color, size, and time of year that they ripen. Like true roses (Rosa spp.), hawthorn fruit are often called “hips”.  Most are rather bland in taste, but an entire industry has been built in the South around the hips of the mayhaw (C. aestivalis) and its close relatives (C. opaca and C. rufula).   Hawthorn hips are also frequently available in natural food stores for use in teas and as nutritional supplements.

Despite their great ornamental beauty and practical uses, Florida’s hawthorns are not widely grown or available without some searching.  Over the past 20+ years, I have collected most of our species and incorporated them in the native plantings around the Pinellas County Cooperative Extension office.  Here, they can be seen as mature specimens and evaluated for use in your own landscape.  It is my hope that eventually the trade will make some of the less commonly grown species more widely available.

Hawthorns can be easily separated into groups by those that grow naturally in dry, sunny upland sites and those that prefer moisture and a bit of partial shade.  But over the years, I have learned that our wetland species can do exceptionally well in typical landscape conditions once established.  This should not be surprising, however, as many of our most commonly used natives, such as red maple (Acer rubrum) and dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), are naturally found primarily in wetlands.  Wetland haws just need some time to get established before they are required to make it without supplemental irrigation.

Littlehip haw: small, over-wintering fruit
Haws can also be separated  by those that hold their fruit into winter and those that don’t.  This is important to wildlife as the “winter-bearing” species generally provide food at a time when it is significant.  Haws which ripen in the summer and autumn come at a time when such food is abundant nearly everywhere.  Many of these are not extensively eaten by wildlife and eventually fall to the ground.  Winter-bearing species often go unused for months, but flocks of American robins, cedar waxwings, and even small warblers find and consume them by late winter – if not before.

Summer haw: large fruit
I have written extensively about hawthorns previously and have devoted a good number of pages to them in my recent book, Native Plant Landscaping for Florida Wildlife, so I won’t go into a long discussion here on the individual species.  What I thought might be most useful is to provide a table

(NOTE: If you wish to consult the table, use this link to the  FNPS Pinellas Chapter website, where you can download the newsletter containing the table and sign up to receive the newsletter electronically.  http://pinellas.ifas.ufl.edu/FFL/index.shtml )

 that clearly compares the traits most important in evaluating their use in home landscapes.  This table does not include every species present in Florida and is based on the taxonomy most commonly used currently.  This taxonomy, however, is changing – especially for the species most often called “summer haw” (C. flava). True “summer haw” is not now considered to be native to Florida and will likely be renamed and split into a number of closely related species including the one Dr. Wunderlin now calls C. michauxii.  Other taxonomists have put that species (common to our part of the state) under C. integra and have put others from north Florida under different names. Three different “summer haws” are present in the Extension landscape – I just don’t know yet what the new Latin names will be.  Regardless, I would encourage all of you to walk the grounds during late February and March while the haws are blooming to get a better idea of which ones you most prefer.

All haws are susceptible to a disfiguring disease, cedar- apple rust, which requires red cedar (Juniperus
virginiana) as an alternate host.  Infected cedars pass the spores onto haws (and other “apples”) where they complete their life cycle.  It is an annual cycle that goes back and forth each year between genera and it can be eliminated by breaking the cycle at either end during any single year.  If you have red cedar in your landscape or nearby (up to a mile away), use hawthorns with one eye out for the appearance of this disease.

Craig Huegel
hawthornhillwildflowers.blogspot.com

Since Arbor Day is coming up, we thought you  would like to consider planting one of these outstanding and lesser-known trees this year. The following species ARE available for sale at several nurseries who are members of AFNN (Association of Florida Native Nurseries):  C. aestivalis,
C. flava, and C. marshallii.  Here's the link to find  contact info for nurseries that carry these trees:

Those of you who have not yet purchased your own copy of Native Plant Landscaping for Florida Wildlife will be glad you waited - we are selling the book at our store with a freebie you will love! Buy the book from our store and you will receive a FREE sturdy canvas lunch bag perfect for the trail or the office: it's lightweight, with velcro closure at top, and fully washable. Sustainable and practical! Buy it here:       FNPS Store

Dr. Huegel will be at the conference next month to sign the books, too!


By the way, AFNN has a new name! They are now going by FANN, which stands for Florida Association of Native Nurseries. AFNN.org will stay the URL for a while longer; we'll let you know when it changes. Be a fan!

sue dingwell

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Eco Explorers - Kids Welcome!

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!

 Meet Swamp 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
  • drawing
  • 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!
I'll see you there.

sue dingwell


     

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Systems, Lifestyle, Imagination: Designing Gardens With Rick Darke

When Rick Darke approaches a landscaping project, he doesn’t begin by telling anyone to start planting natives. Instead, he approaches his projects – ranging in size from miles of area along Delaware’s highways to a quarter acre home in Florida – by focusing on lifestyle, ethics, and systems.

I caught up with Rick while he was aboard a train headed for one of his many presentations, this one at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn entitled: The Art of Observation:  Finding The Extraordinary In The Ordinary Landscape. Our call dropped five times, but Rick’s passion for creative, ecologically sound gardening could not be intercepted by a wireless signal!

Rick’s frustration with pushing native plants from a purely moral perspective came through loud and clear:

I am loathe to constantly talk about native plants out of context. I talk about a system.
We really have to understand systems, dynamics, intervening vegetative dynamics... We have to teach people to see the wonder of useful function and how they can be engaged.”

Rick believes managing the systems involved in a particular landscape is much more difficult than what might simply be called gardening. While we hear the anthem, “plant more natives,” the challenge is to learn how systems work and deal with them creatively, starting literally in our back yards.

How to think creatively think about landscape systems and design a garden space to meet the many needs of end users is one of the main issues Rick plans to cover at the upcoming conference. He believes negative examples aren’t motivating (don’t ever plant that!), and instead he plans to inspire the attendees to be imaginative. “Think about the benefits that a community of regionally indigenous plants brings to modern living.”

For example, Rick asks a homeowner about their “landscape ethics” by looking at the values they bring to their life. What do they do in their house, in their yard?  How do they enjoy the space? What do they expect the space to do for them or their area? “Places to walk, talk, eat, read, throw a ball for a dog or a child -- the landscape can do so many things.”

Rick notes that the desire for diversity, expressed by homeowners as, “pretty birds and butterflies,” is one of the first reasons he hears gardeners request natives. The point is, starting with the desires and lifestyles of the people in our gardens is a more effective way to encourage the use of natives than starting with a type of plant and asking people to work around it.

Just how creative is Rick going to get? Well, I’m pretty sure he was telling me about the outdoor shower in his garden in Pennsylvania – when two things happened.  First, a woman fell off the platform at the Newark stop (she was fine) and as soon as Rick recovered from that, our call dropped for the fifth time. Want to find out more – come to the conference!!


Thanks to our roving reporter from Washington, D.C.
Jessalyn Dingwell

see also: http://fnpsblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/rick-darke-keynote-speaker-in-may.html

Our own Everglades: delivering important ecosystem services

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Win This Native Plant Yard Tour!

A big THANK YOU to our followers here and to our Facebook fans, where we just got the 1000 fans mark! To celebrate this event, the Jolly Bloggers are giving away a field trip of YOUR CHOICE at the upcoming Florida Native Plant Society's 31st Annual Conference. To enter your name in the RANDOM DRAWING, leave a comment telling briefly why you would choose whichever field trip you would like.
Landscape award yard in urban site
Field trips are available in many categories: beautiful natural areas, water conservation sites, rivers, wildlife management areas, and many more. Click the link below to go to the field trip page and read in detail what each trip offers. Trips are led by experts who know the sites well.


One of the trips will be a tour of nine native yards. This trip  will be in an air conditioned vehicle, lead by Phyllis Gray, who is acquainted with all the gardens. Owners will be present to answer questions, and there will be a  handout provided to help you remember all that you have noticed and want to try at home.

Nine gardens will be visited, encompassing a wide variety of types and settings. Several  of these gardens were also on the tour back in 2004, and one is a previous Landscape Award recipient.



Nest with photo cam
Two gardens focus on wildlife habitat, one of these sometimes has a photo cam in a nested birdhouse. This garden borders a community pathway, and the owners have generously “spilled over” a bit with their plantings . 



Two gardens are on small, urban lots close to town, with perhaps only as much as 10 feet between house and side border. These gardens are almost 90% native, and both planted by designers.

One garden surrounds a home in a gated community that is located surrounding a spring, which used to be public. These owners have planted with water conservation and restoring native ecosystems in mind.

One house is on a golf course. Here the owner has adapted parts of her long skinny site to different habitats that stretch the envelopes of regional types. Part is dedicated to the trees and woody forbs found in northern parts of the states, and part to plants that thrive in the central and southern regions. Although the owner has not planted exclusively natives, she is a talented gardener and a successful plant propagator.



Passiflora incarnata in wildlife garden
One garden sits on two acres adjacent to woods. The owners have created and enhanced their walking paths. Because the house is in a rural area, they have stuck to the 30- ft no-plant zone to prevent fire. They have many separate planting areas.



One house abuts a conservation area, has several pond areas, and includes beautiful scrub in front, as well as wetland and shade areas that include “rescued” plants.

There is nothing like seeing a plant in place in a real garden setting to understand how it might look at your own  place, and the chance to see so many types of gardens and to talk with others who have first hand knowledge to share is really unbeatable.


Check out all the fantastic trips available, then go to our Facebook page, link below, to enter your comment to win the trip. Remember, the drawing is random, we will pick a lucky winner Wednesday night. You CAN just go on a field trip without attending the conference, but if you can possibly attend, you will be glad you did.
http://www.facebook.com/FNPSfans

Not on Facebook? You can leave a comment for the drawing here on the blog, too.

sue dingwell




Friday, April 8, 2011

A Community Project Goes Native

According to a recent survey, public outreach and education are the top priorities for Florida Native Plant Society chapters, and here is a success story that showcases what can happen when chapter involvement meets up with inspiration from local garden club members. In January, The Ocean Ridge Garden Club hosted a program on natives from the FNPS Palm Beach County Chapter, and here's what happened in April~

The Ocean Ridge Garden Club has just installed a native garden at the entrance to the town hall.  Why native? Native plant landscaping contributes to the preservation and restoration of our natural heritage.  It creates an awareness of the beauty of the plants native to south Florida and it is especially fitting for a public building to be adorned with plants native to the area

This little oasis of native plantings in Ocean Ridge will soon fill out the space

A native garden has benefits beyond the beauty of the plantings.  At a time when we are drought conscious,  a native garden will help conserve  water, minimize or eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides and conserve energy resources.  Once established the
plants will require minimal maintenance.  A native garden also has the added benefit of attracting butterflies and birds.

Installing natives that will survive coastal conditions
The challenge in planning this garden was to select plants that could thrive in sometimes harsh coastal conditions.  All of the plants are wind, salt and drought tolerant and suitable for coastal soil.  A struggling red cedar was replaced with two 14 ft. curved Sabal palms.  Seven Thatch palms were planted between them to complete the centerpiece design for the garden.  The Sabal palms are appropriate for the setting of the town hall; they are the state tree of Florida and appear on the state flag. A quarter of the grass was removed and non-native plants such as oleanders and struggling plants were replaced with 200 new dune daisies, coonties, and dwarf schilling hollies to provide a border and architectural design to enclose the garden.

Two benches will be installed at the entrance to the garden in front of a gazebo like structure.  The shape of their pedestals  mirrors the design elements of the cape architecture of the town hall.  The benches will sit atop crushed shells to further add to the native
coastal theme.  This is phase one of the garden which will continue to be refined.   Future plans include plant labels and descriptions of their history and botanical characteristics.

This project owes its thanks to the Ocean Ridge Garden Club that provided the funding and particularly to Julia Walker, chairperson of he Beautification Committee, Zoanne Hennigan, president, Dr. John Wootton and Rita Ginsky.  Two generous residents from Ocean Ridge
donated the benches.  Finally, Bob Glynn of the Delray Garden Center provided the necessary labor, machinery and much of the plant material at cost allowing this project to become a reality. 

~Rita Ginsky

Wow! They really did things right! They chose the right plants, for the right reasons; and just wait till those duneflowers start to bloom! In addition, the club is planning to place ID markers on the plants and provide information about them on the inside of the kiosk. Nice work!


Here are a few of the plants that Rita and her committee chose.




Coonties, aka zamia, Zamia integrifolia, a native cycad that should be used more widely. Host for the blue Atala butterflies.





These prolific bloomers will sprawl over wide areas. You can cut them back if they stray too far. 


………. 
Florida only has nine native palms, and this is one of them. A tough and graceful palm, significant for wildlife and host to the monk for the monk skipper butterfly. Slow growing, lovely in flower.



Let's see more community projects like this one!

sue dingwell

Monday, April 4, 2011

Native Plants Push Back!

Well shiver me timbers, mates, our boat has been rocked! Doubters and naysayers have been out there in media land with some ideas that we just might have something to say about. Or about which we might have something to say. You can choose.

A book entitled Plant Driven Design, by Scott and Lauren Springer Ogden has recently been reviewed by one of our friends at the Garden Rant. A lovely book, with some lovely ideas in it.  I read the book when it first came out, and the review had me breaking out in sweat for a second time.

I quote:
Coming in for even more bashing are native plant purists, and their claims that native plants grow better than nonnatives, to which the Ogdens reply simply (and accurately) that "Native plants cannot be declared inherently better, either practically or aesthetically."

OK. First of all, how many times have you read right here that the plant must be fitted correctly to the place.  You can't grow sea oats in a swamp. We admit it. Practicality is linked with location. There are places where a bougainvillea will grow better than a jacquemontia. We will hark back to exactly what it means to "grow better" later. Let's hear some more:

We're seeing more pushback against the native plants-only approach these days from various quarters (especially the horticulture professors) and most gardeners agree with the Ogdens that plant purists can be off-putting with their piety and self-righteousness - (like purists of  any kind, I suppose). But these author-scholars enrich the conversation by invoking pre-history - before the last Ice Age and going forward- to put plant evolution into perspective for us, making a compelling case for the inclusive approach to plants that's used by the vast majority of gardeners. 

Whoa, whoa, whoa back, little doggies! I will concur with anyone who prefers not to associate with people who affect a pious, self-righteous attitude, but please, that is a personality type, not a class of gardeners.

The argument being referred to next, that plants and ecosystems have constantly been evolving and always will, is true. What the author/scholars referred to in the review fail to acknowledge is that the evolutionary process that produced our present natural world took place over thousands of years, not the two weeks it takes now to completely bulldoze a place and stick new plants in. Yes, new plants did take over in places where they adapted competitive advantages, and other species were eliminated.  But these events took place over time spans long enough to allow the living things that depended on each other to also adapt. And that is the key to the difference between former change, and change as it happens quickly today because it affects biodiversity, and the loss of it. 

When ecosystems are damaged far enough that the components of it's food web are altered, extinction begins. Both plant and animal species become permanently lost. This is happening at an astonishing and very well-documented rate already in our world.

So does biodiversity matter? Who cares if x, y, or z becomes extinct?

It does matter. In a world of shrinking resources, - and they must shrink in the face of increasing population, even if you don't agree they are shrinking due to pollution and over usage - we cut out an opportunity with every single thing we loose.

Maybe we will need the genetic component of some desert grasses to enable us to grow oats with scarce water. Maybe the genetic hardiness of some birds, or their ability to forage for themselves, will be necessary to raise birds for food. The salt ion exchange that enables the connective tissue of  sea cucumbers to change from rigid to limp is being studied right now for bio-medical uses - another example proving that scientists are far more often copying what they find in nature than inventing new ideas. New ways of studying things are available to us; but we will never even know what might be contributed as we cross plants and animals off the list here on earth.

And we haven't even entered into the argument about the aesthetics of loosing beautiful birds, butterflies and animals that we will not have the opportunity to see except in pictures if the native plants that sustain them, or their prey are gone.

When you talk about what grows "better," you do not have an argument at all if you leave biodiversity out of the discussion.

Furthermore:
Not shying away from the hottest topic of all - invasive plants - the authors note that invasiveness is highly local, and anyway, "Any plant, even an invading one ought not to be damned simply because of its origins." In highly disturbed sites, it's these weeds that act fast to cover soil "thereby initiating the process of biological recovery."

Fine. I won't damn any plant because of its origins. Now, let's talk about casuarinas, water hyacinths, air potato, torpedo grass, lygodium...... and while we're talking about those, let's think about what happens when nonnatives take over a disturbed site. It doesn't take a doctoral degree to understand that a native was prevented from doing the same thing. We have many natives that are known as pioneer species, evolved to fill in the gaps quickly. But unlike the nonnatives, they are prepared to support the local flora and fauna who need them. Duh.

For further reading: 

We will obviously have to leave aesthetics for another day, but till then, remember: natives add life to your landscape.

sue dingwell

Friday, April 1, 2011

State Parks: Money Talks!

Here in Florida, we have 160 state parks consisting of more than 700,000 acres. In contrast, Texas boasts "more than 90 state parks." There are various types of parks in Florida such as the underwater parks John Pennekamp Coral Reef State and San Pedro Park; the historical sites such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historical Park and the Fort Zachary Taylor Historical Park; but most of the parks highlight wonderful natural areas of the "Real Florida" where you can enjoy native plants and animals in their native ecosystems. Our state parks host more than 21 million visitors a year and provide many of the destination sites that bring out-of-state visitors to our state. www.floridastateparks.org

Even though Florida's parks provide beautiful and educational experiences and bring in many tourists, Governor Scott threatened to close many of them to "save money" and then some of our politicians were ready to make a deal with Jack Nicklaus to build golf courses in our state parks. We hear that the golf course plan, even though it has been labeled as "The Worst Idea Ever," is still alive and may still end up as an amendment on a bill during this legislative session.

While the closings haven't happened yet, many of the parks are operating with less staff and much smaller budgets. So what can you do? Visit various your local state parks more often, plan and attend field trips to state parks, bring your out-of-state guests to state parks, tour parks in other areas of the state, and you could make some time to volunteer at a park. Many of Florida's state parks could not succeed without the help of volunteers. In 2008, volunteers contributed more than 1.2 million hours. http://www.floridastateparks.org/getinvolved/default.cfm

We've written of various state parks here on this blog: Lignumvitae State Park, Torreya State Park and the seven-day field trip with Bruce Means included several sites including Wakulla Springs State Park. If you have a favorite state park that you would like to write about, please let us know at fnps.online@gmail.com.

----------
Maybe the Blackwater River should be called the Tanwater
River. Tannins from surrounding vegetation color the water.
The white sandbars are unique for Florida rivers.


Now enjoy a short tour of Blackwater River State Park west of Tallahassee in Holt, FL. The Blackwater River is the only Florida river with white sugar sand sandbars. In the park there are several sharp turns in the river where the sand builds up and makes kid-friendly beaches.




The shallow, sandy bottom makes it easy to walk, but the current is
pretty strong and a crawdad may scuttle by.

Outfitters just outside the park rent canoes and tubes.  They will drop you off
at one location and pick you up down river.

State parks can be educational.  Sssshh! Don't tell the kids...
Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) blooms await
the hummingbirds.
It's an unspoiled acidic forest with hollies, oaks, bald cypress, longleaf pines, and Atlantic white cedar plus lots of wildflowers. In fact, the state champion Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) is in the park.

Base of the champion Atlantic white cedar.

A champion tree is measured in several ways: diameter,
height, and spread.










 
The needles of the Atlantic white cedar are
compressed and look they like those on an
arborvitae, which is in the same family
Cupressaceae.



Some areas in the park have been burned. Here the well-protected buds on the young longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) come out of dormancy.  
 


A lupine (Lupinus spp) grows on a sandy bank.
 
The only red-berried greenbrier in Florida:
Smilax walteri


Several pavilions nestled in the forest and overlooking
the river would provide beautiful locations for events.
 Here's a letter to Gov. Scott about state parks from FNPS president, Ann Redmond.

So get out and enjoy a Florida state park real soon!

Ginny Stibolt