|Sea Oats; photo by Shirley Denton|
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.
I thought about keeping track of this stuff in spreadsheet format. I studied Latin briefly long ago, so I'm not intimidated by the botanical names, but it didn't really help me with deciphering words like "nephrolepidaceae," for instance, which occurs nowhere in the average beginning Latin reader. After many trips back and forth into the yard, many many searches on the internet, a few IDs at meetings, my catalogue finally started to take shape. Ultimately, I decided to include the non-natives (so I don't forget which they are), the shrubs that were already here, the fruit trees I put in, the ornamentals that I was pressured (forced, kicking and screaming!) into. I also tried to find out what all of my weeds are really called (I had given most of those some choice names of my own, but they weren't appropriate for a written list). Many were not native (keep pulling), many were (hurray, can stop pulling those!). When I got down to brass tacks, excluding most of the bazillion types of grasses that made up the original "lawn" a year ago, I came up with 130 different species (plus 5 extra cultivars). Drop the non-natives and it's 99 native plant species in 87 genera (that's "genus-es", for the uninitiated). Have no fear, I'll hunt down that hundredth native plant tomorrow. For the time being it's still unmanageable in my crowded little head.
|Celtis laevigata (hackberry)|
The most prolific families (with at least four species represented) are/were:
|Lantana involucrata with zebra longwing|
- Asteraceae (asters): 18, including coreopsis, liatris, blanket flower, sunflowers and ironweed.
- Ericaceae (heaths): 5, including lyonia, sparkleberry and flame azalea.
- Fabaceae (legumes): 5, including redbud, coral bean, and cassia.
- Lamiaceae (mints), 5, including horsemint, tropical salvia, florida betony, and blue curls.
- Poaceae (grasses): 4, including sea oats (chapter requirement) and bluestem. And sand burs (I didn't say they're all good, just native).
- Verbenaceae (verbenas): 4, including beautyberry, turkey tangle and button sage (aka white lantana).
I also figured out why the very cool looking "oleander wasp moth" caterpillars, which I had read only eat oleander leaves, were eating the mandevilla last winter: both dogbane family (and both non-native plants, so chow down, oleander wasp moths!)
|Liatris gracilis, Asteraceae|
|Senna ligustrina, Fabaceae|
Beach Primrose (Oenothera drummondii), Beggarticks (Bidens alba), Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella), Buttonsage (Lantana involucrata), Carolina wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis), Christmas Berry (Lycium carolinianum), Coreopsis (C. laevigata, C. leavenworthii), Dollarweed (Hydrocotyle bonariensis?), Drummond's Phlox (Phlox drummondii), Dune Sunflower (Helianthus debilis), Firebush (Hamelia patens), Groundcherry (Physalis walteri?), Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata), Narrowleaf ironweed (Vernonia angustifolia), Pink purslane (Portulaca pilosa), Privet cassia (Senna ligustrina), Rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus), Scarlet rosemallow (Hibiscus coccineus), Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis), Spotted horsemint (Monarda punctata), Summer poinsettia (Poinsettia cyathophora), Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa), Tampa Verbena (Glandularia tampensis), Tropical Salvia (Salvia coccinea), Turkey tangle (Phyla nodiflora), Twinflower (Dyschoriste oblongifolia), Varnish leaf (Dodonea viscosa), Walter's viburnum (Viburnum obovatum - two dwarf cultivars).
|Monarda punctata - the most popular guy in town!|