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Showing posts from 2016

X Marks the Spot: The Search for the Celestial Lily

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submitted by Donna Bollenbach, Suncoast Chapter
(originally printed in The Grapevine, the Suncoast Chapter's  monthly newsletter)

The Map
Back in October, I ran into a friend at a native plant talk. He enthusiastically told me about a colony of Celestial Lilies, Nemastylis floridana, that were blooming in central Florida, and hastily drew me a map to locate the beautiful and endangered wildflowers. The map was very rough, so I tried to ask questions, but the talk we were both attending started, and I was left with this somewhat cryptic diagram. In any case, that weekend my husband, Bob, and I decided we were going to try find the spot, and invited a few unsuspecting friends for the hunt.

I first tried to see Celestial Lilies at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve. It was late fall, a little pass their peak blooming time, and all we found was one bud. With at least six pairs of eyes staring at it, it did not open. I should also say that Celestial Lilies are unusual in that they only open …

Personal Thoughts: Share the Earth

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submitted by Richard Brownscombe, Broward Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society

(Richard wrote this inspirational holiday appeal to help make Broward County a better place for all creatures, large and small. The same could be said for any county in Florida, or place in the world.)

The holidays engage us in the kind and generous inclinations of the human heart. We hear holiday stories of the world's needs and generous people doing something about it. In this era of climate change and species extinction, we think not only of other people, but the other species upon the earth. Some of the best we do for the environment and nature is in our home, yard, neighborhood, city, and our efforts in Broward County that celebrate nature and inspire us to create a sustainable community.

The paradigm for Broward should become sharing our land and resources, making space and leaving water for all the creatures great and small. As we set about evolving our homes and cities to be sustainable…

Wednesday’s Wildflower Sneak Peek Grass-of-Parnassus

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Grass-of-Parnassus or bog-stars, Parnassia grandifolia
Submitted by Roger Hammer
Grass-of-Parnassus or bog-stars (Parnassia grandifolia) is one of Florida’s prettiest wildflowers. The oval, somewhat succulent, shiny leaf blades measure 1½"–4" long with long petioles (leaf stems), and the flowers measure 1½" wide with intricate green, brown, or yellow venation on the petals. Look for it flowering along shaded stream banks and cypress bogs in Liberty, Franklin, Putnam, and Marion Counties. The plant photographed was blooming in the Apalachicola National Forest in November 2016 but its bloom season lasts through December.
Parnassia was named for Mount Parnassus in Greece and it is said that cattle grazing on the mountain relished eating the local Parnassia palustris, so the ancient Greeks made it an “honorary grass.” The name grandifolia relates to the large leaves compared to other species, which in no way resemble a grass. Some members of this genus live in arctic and alpin…

DON'T CUT DOWN THAT SNAG

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Submitted by Donna Bollenbach



The Wildlife Tree
SNAGS, often referred to as “The Wildlife Tree”, are dead tree trunks that are still standing.

They provide perches, food and nesting sites for birds and other wildlife. Wildlife also uses dead wood as landmarks for navigation, basking platforms, perching and nesting.








Cavity Dwellers Nearly 40 species of birds and several species mammals in Florida nest in tree cavities.Woodpeckers, are a “primary excavators.”

Owls, Blue-birds, Squirrels and Nuthatches are a few of the “secondary cavity users.”













Snags as Perches Many birds perch high on snags so they can spot prey below.

Some birds perch on snags for the greater visibility to a potential mate.












Snags as Cover
Birds and small mammals take shelter in the cavities of trees

Bees may also create hives in tree cavities.








Snags for Nesting Ospreys and eagles will build their nests in the tops of snags, especially if they are located close to a body of water that will provide them fish for their yo…

Wildflower Portraits: 10 Tips for Taking Great Close-up Images of Native Plants

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Submitted by Donna Bollenbach, Suncoast Chapter / Nature Photographer
Taking great close-up images of wildflowers is no different than taking great photographs of people, except the wildflowers won’t ever tell you they look “too fat” or “too old” or “too plain.” But, like people portraits, there are a few tips to taking outstanding wildflower portraits:

1. Get close, but be mindful: If it is the flower you are after, get as close as you can without damaging the plant or the habitat. If you want people to be able to identify a plant from your image, be sure to include features that are unique to the species, such as leaves, fruits or seeds.



2. Be level: The closer you are to a subject, the less depth-of-field you will achieve. So, position your camera so the lens is parallel with the flower, or other feature of the plant, that you want to be the sharpest. If you have a depth of field preview on your camera, use it.


3. Use a tripod: Lenses with optical stabilizers are great when carrying a …

FNPS, and the Tarflower Chapter, Mourns the Death of Founding Member Bill Partington, Jr.

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In Memoriam:  William “Bill” Moore PARTINGTON Jr. February 3, 1928 - October 14, 2016


   Bill Partington was a founding member of the Florida Native Plant Society (Tarflower Chapter) and a champion for Florida’s natural environment. He was Director of FNPS from 1979-1985. During that time, membership grew from 6 people to over a 1000. Bill Partington was well known for publishing an annual “calamity calendar” in the 1990s, featuring cartoonists that made fun of Florida’s gator attacks, hurricanes, and overcrowding. He wrote many articles and took photos for the Florida Audubon Society, New York Geological Society, Wilderness Society magazine, several wildlife books, and numerous columns on the environmental impact of the Cross Florida Barge Canal (now called the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway). Bill graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Williams College awarded Mr. Partington in 1995 their coveted bicente…

2017 FNPS Conference: Connections: Above & Below

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submitted by Donna Bollenbach

Connections:What an all-encompassing term! It implies links, associations, bonds, assemblies, and networks. But it also refers to the way things relate and interact. So, when destiny took us to Westgate River Ranch Resort, a venue in heart of the state and the historic Everglades Watershed, choosing “Connections” for the theme of the 2017 Florida Native Plant Society seemed natural.  Historically, the Headwaters of the Everglades watershed flowed like a sheet of water that moved through grasslands and prairies to the Everglades. This flood plain filtered the water of its impurities, like the heart oxygenates blood, before delivering it to the other parts of the land body. But the natural path of water has been greatly altered resulting in water that is nutrient-contaminated and being rechanneled to our east and west coasts, causing a host of environmental problems that have a negative impact on plant communities, wildlife, our health and economy. 
 Rest…

Discovering Grassy Waters Preserve

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Richard Brownscombe, Coontie Chapter
Last month James Lange, Researcher and Field Biologist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, took us on a wonderful walk in Grassy Waters Preserve just an hour north of Fort Lauderdale in West Palm Beach. This wetland is an example of doing the right thing to build a sustainable urban environment. The naturally clean waters of the preserve are supplying the drinking water for West Palm Beach and helping keep the aquifer healthy. At the same time, all these wetland plant and wildlife species have a place to thrive and townsfolk have easy access to this beautiful place.
The facilities of the parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, waterside deck, canoe and kayak launch, rain shelter, benches, and boardwalk, say "Welcome. Enjoy." We were so fortunate to have "our botanist", James, along to name the plants and point out many interesting things we would not have known. As a few other couples, groups, and individuals passed by us, I w…