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Showing posts from March, 2012

32nd Annual FNPS Conference Field Trips

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We're All Over the Map
By Cindy Liberton, 2012 FNPS Conference Committee
For many traveling to the annual Florida Native Plant Society Conference, it's all about the field trips – exploring new territories and seeing how the ecosystems are expressed in a different part of Florida.

We have something for everyone this year, from the intrepid trekker to the cultural enthusiast.
Conference Field Trips
Preserving the Hydric Heart of Florida
We start with the Green Swamp and its huge mosaic of uplands and wetlands. Four rivers, the Hillsborough, Withlacoochee, Ocklawaha and Peace, reach out to provide much of central Florida’s water supply. The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) has purchased approximately 110,000 acres, known as the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. When combined with another 63,522 acres of adjoining publicly owned land, there are about 172,988 acres of the Green Swamp under public ownership. An additional 6,000 acres of privately owned land are protect…

Plant Profile: Pogonia ophioglossoides, Rose pogonia

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This post is one of a series from Botany professor Nisse Goldberg's students at Jacksonville University. Student author: Morgan Derner


Pogonia ophioglossoides is commonly known as the rose pogonia or the snakemouth orchid and is famous for its scent that smells just like raspberry.


Pogonia comes from the Greek pogon for "beard" and refers to his beard-like labellum (Figure 1), and ophioglossoides may highlight the similarities in the orchid’s leaves to that of the fern Ophioglossum (Figure 2). In the months of June through August, this orchid produces one to three flowers per plant. Mostly bees pollinate the rose pogonia, although it provides no nectar.


The species can be found from north Florida all the way to the Everglades. Generally, rose pogonias are found in acidic boggy conditions of marsh meadows or grassy seeping areas. They can form relatively dense patches from vegetative growth (Figure 2). Sadly, rose pogonia is also a threatened species to Florida. If the r…

Plant Profile: the Ghost Orchid

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 This post is one of a series from Botany professor Nisse Goldberg's students at Jacksonville University. Student authors: Danielle D’Amato, Shanda Larson, Rachel FrankCommon Name:

American Ghost Orchid
Scientific Name: Dendrophylax lindenii

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Orchidales
Family: Orchidaceae
Genus: DendrophylaxSpecies: Dendrophylax lindenii

Orchids are the largest family of flowering plants. With over 30,000 species of orchids found in just about every part of the planet. While most plants are rooted in the soil, orchids can grow “in the air” with their aerial roots attached to rocks and tree trunks. Found almost exclusively in southern Florida, Haitian, and Cuban swamps, these orchids grow best in high humidity and still air.

Dendrophylax lindenii or American ghost orchid is one of the most famous of the orchids that grow in the United States. It is known as the ghost orchid because the flower can appear to be floating in the ai…

Reasons to Register NOW for the FNPS Conference

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By Cindy Liberton, Hernando Chapter FNPS
Conference Committee Member

Registration is now open at http://fnps.org/conference. If you know you’re going, you should register early. If you’re undecided, I'm going to try to persuade you! Consider this a sneak preview. Watch this blog for more details in the weeks to come... 


Hosted by the Hernando and Suncoast Chapters of the Florida Native Plant Society
Reasons to Register 
Reason #1: There’s Nothing Like It Florida Native Plant Society President, Steve Woodmansee sums it up: "The FNPS conference is the premier annual gathering for all native plant lovers. Folks of various backgrounds from the bluffs of the Apalachicola River to the sub-tropical archipelago of the Florida Keys and all parts in between have an opportunity to join in fellowship, share ideas, strategize, and learn about the 'whys' and 'how's' of conserving and protecting Florida's flora."

Reason #2: The Field Trips Early registratio…

FNPS Trip to the Exumas

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Diary of an Island HopperWritten by Richard Brownscombe, edited by Laurie Sheldon
February 17, 2012Today we pushed off the dock and embarked on the first and longest leg of our journey - the crossing from the Miami River to Nassau. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a moment of boredom in the 16 hours it took to reach our destination, which we spent eagerly anticipating the next week’s adventures and soaking up our new surroundings. As our boat plowed through the glassy blue, two varieties of flyingfish (Atlantic and Oceanic two-wing) leapt ahead of us, using their long pectoral fins to clear a floating mat of gulfweed.  Porpoises darted alongside and under the bow until they finally ran out of their seemingly inexhaustible energy.
February 18, 2012We finally reached the Great Bahamas Banks and felt like we were in a tropical oasis. The carbonate limestone platform is only 25 meters deep, unlike the surrounding areas, which are incredibly steep. As such, the water looked like a shock of turquoi…

Plant Profile: American Lotus (Nelumbo Lutea)

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This post is one of a series from Botany professor Nisse Goldberg's students at Jacksonville University. Student authors:Kelsey Irvine & Irene Julian


The American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is an unusual plant, as it can survive floating in fresh water! It is a plant native to the hot and cold climates of the United States and Canada, including Florida, as shown by the blue shading in Figure 2. The American lotus is found near the floodplains and tributaries of rivers, as well as muddy lake margins, marshes, and swamps. If you would like to see this lovely lotus, Lake Okeechobee and the Glades County would be excellent places to visit.


The American lotus grows mainly in the summer and can extend up to 3 feet in water! Because it can be relatively large, the plant requires ample depth to grow and space for its leaves to float along the surface of the water. The showy flowers are yellow/white in color and are typically 6 inches in diameter (Figure 1).

Many people confuse the American…