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Showing posts from July, 2016

A Pine can have lightning scars that run down the trunk. Why doesn't an Oak?

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by Cecilia Catron, Tarflower Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society(reprinted with permission from the August 2016 issue of Tarpaper)
 When days are hot, as they have been for the past month, it seems like a sensible idea to lie in or around the pool all day, like a motionless alligator. Curds of bright, white thunderheads rise higher and higher, expanded by the increasing heat. Gradually air pushed from the east and west coasts meets in the middle of the peninsula. By mid-afternoon it becomes charged by the collision of the fronts and summer lightning is created, with or without a storm.

Have you ever noticed a stripe spiraling down the trunk of a pine tree where lightning has stripped the outer bark off? You may have also noticed there is no such stripe on the trunk of an oak tree. Oaks and Pines, both dominant here in central Florida, have different lightning survival strategies. Most pine species have long, straight trunks. They are r…

Carol's Corner

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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!

May 2016 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


April 2016 Carol’s Corner: Lupine in Bloom! We had an enjoyable walk at Turkey Cree…

My Quest for Milkweeds

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Story and photos by Janet Bowers, Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
At the beginning of my ‘Natives’ life, I learned a lot from working on the plant sale plant profiles, so I thought the only milkweeds in our area were Asclepias incarnata, A. tuberosa and A. perennis. Apparently those are the ones that nurseries have grown for a while. If I had known better, I might have checked out the USF Plant Atlas where I could have looked up genus Asclepias and would have seen that there are many more species in our area.




I have seen 9 milkweed species so far this year in relative proximity to our area, and I have now done the USF Plant Atlas search so I know there are more out there. An advance search in Hillsborough County lists twelve species.Oddly enough (at least to me), two of the species I have never seen in the wild are the swamp milkweeds that we sell at our plant sale. They are at the top of my list to find.



The most recent milkweeds I saw were at Lake Blue Scrub (Aubur…

A Passion for Passionflowers in Prose & Poetry

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by Devon Higginbotham / Poem by Donna Bollenbach
Suncoast Native Plant Society


The first time I saw a passion flower, with its bizarre, lavender zigzaggy petals and yellow-star stamens, my immediate thought was it must be from another planet. It looks like no other flower shape — daisy, tulip or rose.
Not only is it spectacular to behold but it’s huge, measuring about 4 inches across, and it smells like a sorority house on formal night.

I had to have one!

Sometimes called the maypop or May apple, this perennial vine is native to Florida and the southeastern United States. It grows well in zones seven to 10, climbing on fences trellises or as a ground cover in sunny locations. It spreads underground, sending out shoots some distance from the parent plant. It is attractive to zebra longwing and gulf fritillary larvae, which keep it in check. Thus, supplying your garden with a steady stream of butterflies.

Just when you think you’ve found the perfect garden plant, one of your flowers will…