The purpose of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. This blog presents ideas and information to further the cause of Florida's native plants and ecosystems.
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by Carol Hebert, Conradina Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
The following is a collection of Carol's Corner from the first half of 2016 reprinted in part from the Conradina chapter newsletter. They are the reasons to "Plant Native." Enjoy!
Simpson Stopper, Photo by Carol Hebert
Carol’s Corner: Smells So Good!
This wonderful plant is so durable, grows so slowly, and
also rewards us with small, beautiful flowers that smell so incredibly
wonderful! Simpson Stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans) is categorized as a small
tree. I guess you can recognize why the species name is fragrance in Latin. It
grows slowly with very little need to prune. I enjoy seeing it used as hedges
for commercial businesses. We even have it as a hedge in front of my work place
at Dr. Martin Luther King Library on University Boulevard. I loved making my
co-workers smell the flowers. It grows on the mainland and beach-side also. Plant native! C
Lupine (Lupinus diffusus) Photo by Carol Hebert
Carol’s Corner: Lupine in Bloom!
We had an enjoyable walk at Turkey Creek Sanctuary, and we
saw wonderful plants. There was Conradina grandiflora in bloom—the plant our
chapter is named after. Blueberry (Vaccinun myrsintes) and Deerberry (Vaccinum
stamineum) were also wonderfully in bloom. We took a walk on a boardwalk done
by a Scout recently to see huge Giant Leather Ferns. Toward the end of our
walk, we enjoyed the sight of many bunches of Lupine (Lupinus diffusus). They
were drop dead beautiful! Plant native! C
Shiny Lyonia (Lyonia lucida) Photo by Carol Hebert
Carol’s Corner: Spring Has Arrived!
We enjoyed a wonderful walk through Cruikshank Sanctuary in
February with Vince Lamb and saw Shiny Lyonia (Lyonia lucida) in bloom. It is a
beautiful shrub that likes full sun. Rusty Staggerbush (Lyonia ferruginea) was
also in bloom. We enjoyed about six to seven Scrub Jays. It was a fun walk
through sandy soil and the best season to enjoy the scrub. I personally also
enjoyed Adam's Needle (Yucca filamentosa) with fiber swirling out from its
leaves. Scrub is an enchanting habitat and is wonderful to walk through to see
its vast diversity. Plant native! C
Acer rubrum(Red Maple) Photo by Carol Hebert
Carol’s Corner: Autumn Colors
Fall is almost over and there are still a few autumn colors
there to enjoy. Red Maple (Acer rebrum) is showing its display of how
wonderfully its leaves change color and contribute to the soil. There are
several other leaves changing color and falling such as the deep red of Virginia
Creeper and the yellow leaves of the Grape vines (Vitus sp.) and the American
Elm (Ulmus americana). I have already seen the Laurel Oaks showering their
leaves! This is the best time to leave all those leaves in your yard to enrich
the soil. Since Melbourne is about four inches above the average rain fall,
spring is on it's way. Plant native! C
Photo Skyblue Clustervine by Carol Herbert
Carol’s Corner: Winter Blooms
December 21st was Winter Solstice and the beginning of the
winter season. It’s almost hard to believe we are in this season since we have
hit (or close to) a record high temperature on each day. Plants are wonderful
how they bloom in different seasons. Fall brings us so many colors such as
yellow with Goldenrod (Solidaga sp.), Coreopsis, and Silkgrass (Pityopsis
graminifolia). A nice variety of purple blooms contrast beautifully such as
Gayfeather (Liatris sp.), Ironweed (Vernonica gigantea), and Stokes’ Aster
(Stokesia laevis). Currently, my favorite fall blooming purple flower plant is
Skyblue Clustervine (Jacquemontia pentanthos). This vine grows nicely on the
north side of my house so it receives partial sun and shade all day. The
flowers are small, about an inch wide and have the “morning glory” look. No
fragrance but they are so pretty to see everyday because they open just for a
day so flowers are in different places on the vine each day. Find a fence or
trellis and decorate it with this evergreen vine named Skyblue Clustervine.
This plant will give a wonderful display of lavender flowers at the end of each
year. Plant native! C
Other Names: Dwarf Mulberry, Beautybush, Filigree, French Mulberry, Beautyberry
Introduction: Purple berries clinging around stems with bright green foliage make Callicarpa americana stand out from late summer to winter. It is easy to see how beautyberry got its common name. Don’t let its looks fool you though; Callicarpa is more than just eye candy. Callicarpa americana is useful medicinally and as food for wildlife and people. American Beautyberry is not fussy about location, soil or light requirements. This tough plant is an American Beauty in every sense of the word. Its name comes from Greek: Kalli, means beautiful; Karpos means fruit.
Historic Medicinal Uses:
Native Americans had many uses for beautberry, both internally and externally. According to Taylor (1940), Native Americans used beautyberry externally as a steam and topical application. All parts of the pla…
Australian pines seem to be everywhere in the coastal regions in the bottom half of Florida. Their name is deceiving because, while they are native to Australia, they aren't pines or even conifers. They are flowering trees with separate male and female flowers, and what look like needles are really green twiglets with close-set circles of tiny leaves that drop at the first sign of a drought. In the photo to the right, the light-colored lines are where leaves where once attached. Most of the photosynthesis takes place in the twiglets.
There are three species of Australian pine (Casuarina spp) that have been imported into Florida for various purposes. They were widely planted to soak up the "swamps" in Florida, stabilize canals, and hold beaches. Unfortunately for Florida's ecosystems, the "pines" accomplished all this and more--like seeding prolifically, growing five feet or more per year, producing dense shade, and emitting an herbicide that kills most a…
These perky natives have numerous and endearing charms. Authors and growers disagree about the proper Latin name, but they are in complete agreement that more people should use more coonties in their landscapes.
What's to like?
Coonties are spritely and graceful in their form, tough as the dickens, bright green all year, and host plant for the beautiful blue atala
hairstreak butterfly. In fact, coonties are the only larval food for atalas. You can use them as specimen or accent plants, mass them together for ground cover, or use them in a line as a border. And to top that off, they have an interesting sex life. A subject we hardly ever get to talk about around here. More on that later. See more in Roger Hammer's 1995 Palmetto article, The Coontie and the Atala Hairstreak.
Slow growers, coonties are more expensive to buy than some other natives by relative size, but don't let that put you off. They are well worth the investment. They can be planted in full sun or fairly …