A New Chapter
I recently relocated from the northeast corner of Florida to my hometown of sunny Miami. As such, I had to leave the Ixia chapter, which had become something of a family to me. Most of what I've learned over the past several years is the byproduct of being involved with that small, warm group of people. I am sincerely grateful that they were able to tolerate my obnoxious sense of humor long enough to identify specimens for me on field trips and during meetings. Nonetheless, the landscape in Atlantic Beach (where I'd lived for the past 4 years) is dramatically different than that which is found in "the 305," and I'm discovering that I’m not quite back to square one regarding my knowledge of local natives, but I'm far back enough to recognize that there's a whole lot more to know. I've always found that if I really want to learn about AND remember new species of flora, doing so in their respective natural settings is the best way to go. That said, on Saturday, January 11, I grabbed my notebook and camera and headed to F.I.U. for my first field trip with the Dade F.N.P.S. Chapter.
|Group photo c/o Linda evans|
|Oliver, Vogel's dog, loves the tire path|
Speaking of Brazilian pepper (boo hiss), the preserve is in no way devoid of invasive species - a fact that Vogel is very aware of. When we spotted and called his attention to Ardisia elliptica (shoebutton), he told us that pest plant removal on the site is targeted, largely because if he disturbs the areas containing invasives by removing them and doesn’t have anything to replace them with, the invasives will most likely make a repeat appearance. He has been actively girdling four large Australian pines in the preserve as a means of eventually killing them.
|Left: L. latisiliquum; right: D. regia|
- Chromolaena odorata (jack-in-the-bush)
- Heliotropum polyphyllum (pineland heliotrope)
- Physalis angustifolia (coastal groundcherry)
- Tetrazygia bicolor (Florida cloverash) - this one is listed as threatened in the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act.
- Lysiloma latisiliquum (false tamarind) - I thought this was Delonix regia (royal poinciana), which I knew/know is a non-native introduced to Miami by David Fairchild after one of his plant collecting trips to Asia. The Kampong, his former residence (in the Coconut Grove area), is presumably the site of that original accession. The leaves on both are bipinnately compound, with leaflets of about the same size. Their fruits, however, are significantly different (see image) and a good identifying feature for distinguishing one from the other.
- Chrysophyllum oliviforme (satinleaf) - disclosure: I already knew and loved this species from my volunteer days at Fairchild, where they have a long allee of satinleaf trees leading to an overlook. I did not, however, realize it was native.
|I imagine that the shady path at Secret Woods|
Nature Center would feel great on a warm day.
Plants I correctly identified
- Annona glabra (pond apple)
- Ardisia escallonioides (marlberry)
- Avicennia germinans (black mangrove)
- Bidens alba (beggarticks)
- Callicarpa americana (beautyberry)
- Chromolaena odorata (jack-in-the-bush) - I learned this one the week before; go me!
- Chrysobalanus icaco (cocoplum)
- Coccoloba uvifera (seagrape)
- Eugenia axillaris (white stopper)
- Ficus aurea (strangler fig)
- Ilex cassine (Dahoon holly)
- Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
- Pleopeltis polypodioides (resurrection fern)
- Poinsettia cyathophora (paintedleaf)
- Psychotria nervosa (wild coffee)
- Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove)
- Sabal palmetto (cabbage palm)
- Sambucus canadensis (elderberry)
- Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)
- Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss)
- Vitis rotundifolia (muscadine)
- Zamia pumila (coontie)
Plants I incorrectly identified
|Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) propagules|
- Myrsine cubana (colicwood) - thought this was wax myrtle
Plants that were new to me and those I had seen before but couldn’t identify
- Acrostichum danaeifolium (giant leather fern)
- Blechnum serrulatum (swamp fern)
- Heliotropium curassavicum (seaside heliotrope)
- Ipomoea indica (oceanblue morning-glory) - knew the genus; specific epithet, not so much
- Pluchea sp. (camphorweed)
- Psilotum nudum (whisk fern)
- Psychotria sulzneri? (shortleaf wild coffee) - leaf is dull and more blue-green than that of P. nervosa
- Rhabdadenia biflora (rubbervine)
- Rivina humilis (rougeplant)
- Sarcostemma clausum (white twinevine)
- Zanthoxylum fagara (wild lime) - at least I knew it was in the Rutaceae because of the winged rachis
That’s about it. Starting a new chapter (in my life and in F.N.P.S.) has been pretty exciting so far!
Signing off from the south end of the state-
all photos by author unless otherwise noted