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Showing posts from September, 2012

Plant Profile: Pignut Hickory, Carya glabra

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By Travis Ballard

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

Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Juglandales
Family: Juglandaceae
Genus:Carya
Specific epithet:glabra

Description
Carya glabra, pignut hickory, is a hardwood tree found along the eastern coast of North America. Pignut hickory is one of seven Carya species found in Florida, where it is common in both the central and northern portions of the state. At typically 60' in height and half that in width, this tree's oval-shaped canopy and sturdy branches provide the foundation for a terrific shade tree. It grows in mesic to dry hammocks, where it is often associated with oaks (Quercus spp.).

The leaves on a pignut hickory tree are odd-pinnately compound (usually with 5 or 7 leaflets) and deciduous (Figure 1). It is sexually monecious, so each tree produces both male and female flowers; in Florida, this happens around …

Plant Profile: Simpson’s applecactus, Harrisia simpsonii

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By Shelby Truesdell and Jodi Coia

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

Classification
Domain: Eukaryota Kingdom: Plantae Phylum: Tracheophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Caryophyllales Family: Cacataceae Genus:Harrisia Specific epithet:simpsonii  
Common Name: Simpson’s applecactus Botanical Name: Harrisia simpsonii
Habitat Harrisia simpsonii is an endangered cactus that is endemic to Florida.  The cactus is found in Florida’s southernmost counties: Miami-Dade, Monroe Mainland, and the Monroe Keys. Simpson’s applecactus grows well in coastal hammocks and does best in soil pH of 6.1, to 7.8. The cactus can tolerate some amount of salt and brackish water because of its location near the coast and is tolerant of drought conditions.
Characteristics Its fragrant white flowers and prickly fruit are both easy ways to identify the species (Figs. 1 and 2). The flower is white when it opens and appears pinkish on the outside whe…

Plant Profile: Taxus floridana, Florida Yew

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La’Ena Schmick and Elizabeth Ramirez

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

Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Coniferophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Taxales
Family: Taxaceae
Genus: Taxus
Specific epithet:floridana

Description
Taxus floridana, or Florida Yew, is a member of the Coniferophyta family and one of two species in the family Taxaceae recorded in Florida. It is an endemic and endangered species found only on the Apalachicola River between Chattahoochee and Bristol in Gadsden and Liberty County. Torreya taxifolia, another endangered species in the same family, is also found in the same counties as T. floridana, in addition to Jackson County.

This evergreen shrub or small tree can be recognized by its spreading, horizontal branches and soft and linear leaves (Fig. 1). Taxus floridana is usually less than 15 ft. tall with the tallest Florida yew recorded at 25 ft. tall! Female plants produce seeds enclosed…

Volunteers Help Plant 4,500 Native Plants at Bok Tower Gardens

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Guest blog by Martin Corbin, Bok Tower Communications Director

Bok Tower Gardens is one of Florida’s oldest attractions and a perfect daytrip for those looking for outdoor fun. Behind acres of landscaped gardens, a 20-room historic mansion, and Singing Tower carillon bells, lies a deep-seated commitment to conservation. Founder Edward Bok’s motto to, “make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it,” is the organization's guiding principle. Preservation of the lands adjacent to the Gardens figures prominently on our priority list. Visitors don’t often see the extent of the effort put into these projects, but can certainly appreciate the end product on our entrance road - a meandering drive through citrus groves and other undeveloped natural areas.

One of our largest preservation endeavors started in 2007 when we acquired 156 acres of fallow citrus lands with funds from the Florida Communities Trust. We are currently restoring its native sandhill hab…

Plant Profile: Purple Passionflower, Passiflora incarnata

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By Kalli Unthank and Hanna Feik

This post is one of a series from professor Nisse Goldberg's Biology students at Jacksonville University.
Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Violales
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus:Passiflora
Specific epithet:incarnata

Description
The striking Passiflora incarnata (also called purple passionflower and maypop) is one of six native Passiflora species in Florida. Purple passionflower is a liana (a woody vine) that is found throughout the state, often in open and disturbed areas. This fast-growing vine is listed as an invasive elsewhere in the US because it spreads easily, growing from suckers at the roots.

The fragrant flower is a vibrant purple with ten tepals, although some experts distinguish the sepals from the petals (Figure 1). Passionflowers have a unique structure called a corona, made of banded white and light-purple strands that serve as a nectar guide for pollinators such as butterflies and bees (Figure …

Arbor Day Foundation & Florida

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The Arbor Day Foundation has played a big part to help people, cities and towns plant more trees since 1865 when J. Sterling Morton started this foundation.

In Florida alone there are 165 Tree Cities. We've discussed this organization in these previous posts: Florida's Arbor Day: Third Friday in January and our followup post on our members' favorite trees: Your Favorite Trees.  So yes, The Arbor Day Foundation has done a lot to increase awareness of the importance of trees even in urban and suburban environments and presents a lot of good educational material.

BUT...

With their membership packages, they make it almost irresistable to acquire trees from their Nebraska-based nursery. Where I live in northern Florida, the 10 free trees offered are 3 redbuds, 4 dogwoods and 3 goldenraintrees, plus I could qualify for 2 crape myrtles.

 I have a problem with this membership offer for several reasons:

While the redbuds and dogwoods are native to north Florida, will …