Showing posts from October, 2012

Plant Profile: Rhododendron austrinum, Florida Flame Azalea

By Kimberly Williams

This post is one of a series from professor Nisse Goldberg's Botany students at Jacksonville University.
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magniolophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Specific epithet: austrinum

Common names: Florida Flame Azalea, Honeysuckle Azalea, Deciduous Azalea

The gorgeous Rhododendron austrinum or Florida flame azalea (Figure 1) is found in Baker County and the western portion of the panhandle (Figure 2). Of the five Rhododendron in Florida, Rhododendron austrinum, R. alabamense, and R. minus var. chapmanii are listed as endangered and illegal to remove.

Florida flame azalea has beautiful bright orange-yellow flowers with connate petals to form a funnel-shaped corolla (Figure 3). Their sweet scent attracts bumble bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies - all desirable pollinators for any garden.

Liberty County's Torreya State Park is a great place to see this plant in its n…

Mistaken Identity: Will the Real Tropical Sage Please Step Forward

By Laurie Sheldon

As one of the purveyors of the FNPS Facebook page, I routinely search the news for information I think our followers will be interested in. Sometimes I'm cued in to relevant stories on Twitter, but, more often than not, my Google news alert delivers "this just in" articles about native plants and other environmental tidbits straight to my inbox. Sunday morning (10/21) I was notified of an article about tropical sage in the newspaper, the author of which happened/happens to be a friend of mine. What I found to be somewhat alarming, however, was the photo attached to the story. It was not of the native tropical sage, Salvia coccinea, but of Salvia splendens - a plant from Brazil with the same common name. Uh oh. My friend and I had both signed up to for a field trip scheduled for the same day, so I waited until I saw her to ask her if she'd seen the final print. She had not. Double uh oh. "I sent them a picture," she told me, which I comple…

Say Yes To Violets

By Steven W. Woodmansee, FNPS President

Violets represented by the genus Viola, although often thought of as northern species, do grow in Florida. Ten native species occur in our fine state, four of which occur in our ten southern counties. Violets are herbs which often form a basal rosette, and have a fat creeping stem (often several inches in length), and usually below ground. All southern Florida species typically grow 4-5 inches in height. Plants typically flower in springtime and are quite noticeable, usually measuring about an inch or more across. Flowers are bilaterally symmetrical, with five petals forming a shape much like a harlequin mask, the center petal often has lines that act as nectar guides. Fruits are a capsule which dehisces (opens up when dry), readily spreading by seed and can be quite abundant where found. Interestingly, violets are also known for their edibility, as flowers may be used in salads.

One species, Viola lanceolata, the Bog White Violet, has the broa…

Counting Blessings: Warea amplexifolia

By Jackie Rolly with contributions from Juliet Rynear

Just over a year ago, the Florida Forestry Service stood by as flames engulfed the Warea Tract - a 40-acre portion of Seminole State Forest that the agency is responsible for maintaining. Apparently, this prescribed burning was just what the doctor ordered. Earlier this month (October, 2011), Jackie Rolly and others had the privilege of counting approximately 1,158 specimens of Warea amplexifolia (commonly known as “Wide-leaf Warea” or “Clasping Warea”) on the site. This plant, endemic to central Florida, has remained on the Federal Register of endangered plants since its listing in 1987. Additional endangered plants that Rolly and her group identified include Lewton’s Milkwort (Polygala lewtonii), Trailing Milkvine (Matelea publiflora), Scrub Plum (Prunus geniculata), and Scrub Morning Glory (Bonamia grandiflora).

Habitat loss is the primary threat to this species. Sadly, only a handful of W. amplexifolia populations remain with…

Blog Action Day 10/15/2012: "The Power of We"


It's easy to see how the Florida Native Plant Society and the combined actions of its 37 chapters - 4,000 members in all - fit within the context of this year's Blog Action Day topic, "The Power of We." Here are some of the activities we've engaged in - as a group  - for the purpose of conserving and/or restoring Florida's native plant communities and the wildlife that depend upon them.

1) The FNPS annual report for 2011 provides a solid starting point for learning about some of the organization's many accomplishments over the past year.

2) Native Park in Jacksonville
A group of FNPS members and neighbors turned a small city park into an award-winning showcase for locally native plants. This park was started in 1923 by a local garden club. FNPS members and other volunteers have spent countless Saturday mornings digging up invasive and non-native plants, and have added 138 native species to the 37 that existed when they adopted the park in 2011. T…

Family Profile: The Sapindaceae

By Emily Barnes and Dan Moore

This post is one of a series from professor Nisse Goldberg's Plant Taxonomy students at Jacksonville University. FNPS blogger Laurie Sheldon assisted the students with their initial drafts, providing suggestions for editing and content development.

Characteristics Plant Sex: Bisexual (ex: Bligia sapida) or unisexual (ex: Litchi chinensis)
Flowers: Radial to bilateral, with a nectar disk usually present
Fruits: Loculicidal and septicidal capsules (ex: Bilia columbiana), berries (ex: Litchi chinensis), samaras (ex: Acer rubrum), and schizocarps (ex: Dipteronia sinensis)
Leaves: Alternate or opposite; pinanately or palmately compound, trifoliate or unifoliate

Description Sapindaceae is commonly referred to as the “soapberry family” and includes trees, shrubs, and lianas. Serjania is the largest genus of the Sapindaceae, which includes 215 species. Species in this family are largely found in Asia and America, specifically in tropical to subtropical regions.…

2011 FNPS Annual Report

The Florida Native Plant Society has released its annual report for 2011. Please read the whole report for yourself to see how much our organization accomplishes in one short year. What I've included here are some screenshots to give an idea of what is included.
From FNPS president Steve Woodmansee: Restoration of our native habitats begins with the native plants appropriate to our areas. The continued protection of our remaining natural habitats is also critically important. After all, these are the refugia where our native wildlife still survives. For these reasons I actively support the Florida Native Plant Society. These pages illustrate some of the many Florida Native Plant Society achievements in 2011. Help us continue to preserve Florida’s natural heritage, native plant by native plant community.

What is notable about the FNPS operating expenses pie chart is that a full 80% of our expenses is for programs. We are very efficient!

But we are always looking for new a…

Plant Profile: Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida

By Sally Marie Futch

This post is one of a series from professor Nisse Goldberg's Botany students at Jacksonville University.


Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Cornales
Family: Cornaceae
Specific epithet:florida

Cornus florida or flowering dogwood: Cornus is from the Latin word of “cornu” meaning hard and bony, “florida” means flowering in Latin. The flowering dogwood is a tree typically found growing in the shaded understory of mesic hammocks.

You may think that the easiest way to identify the flowering dogwood is from its beautiful white ‘flowers’, but you would be mistaken (Figure 1). Those “flowers” are actually four modified leaves or bracts that surround clusters of the true green-yellow flowers (Figure 1). You can enjoy watching the blooms and the pollinators attracted to the nectar during the months of March to October. Also, the spring azure butterfly, Celastrina ladon, deposits its larvae on the plant. T…

I.M.B.Y. (In My Backyard)

by Eric Powell
introduction by Laurie Sheldon

Eric Powell has taken on the ambitious task of assembling a monthly newsletter for his chapter, Sea Oats in St. Johns County. In addition to including information about upcoming meetings, field trips, and local events, Eric catalogues the specimens that are concurrently blooming in his own landscape while working on the publication. The following is an excerpt from Sea Oats' most recent circular.

Garden Update

Every month, I prepare a list of all the plants I have in bloom at the time I put the newsletter together. At least three people have confessed that they actually read it; for the life of me, I have no idea why. Although I readily admit to being a plantaholic, I swear I have not bought, been gifted, or stolen one single plant this month!  Must be a record!  Regardless, it seems that all it takes for my list to grow longer is some time spent staring at the ground. And man, has it ever grown!

I thought about keeping track of this s…