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Showing posts from 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Scrub Lupine

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McFarlin’s Lupine/Scrub Lupine, Lupinus westianus var. aridorum / Lupinus aridorium Submitted by Tom Palmer, Hernando Chapter


This pink-flowered endemic wildflower blooms in spring in a decreasing number of locations on the Winter Haven and Mt. Dora ridges in Polk and  Orange counties.  It is a federally listed endangered species, and unlike many scrub species, it is  unknown within the Lake Wales Ridge. 
Although this plant was first proposed to be considered a separate species by James Brigham McFarlin in the 1930s, it was not formally described until 1982 by John Beckner. It was later reclassified as a variety of Lupinus westianus by Duane Isley, but a current genetic evaluation of Florida lupines reportedly may result in changes in the nomenclature that may restore it to full species status.
Scrub lupines are easily identified by pink blossoms as well as the absence of stipules, which will L. diffusus, a more common Central Florida species, when the plants are not blooming. help t…

Conservation on a Working Ranch : Adams Ranch

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FNPS Conference Field Trip Highlight: Adams Ranch Day: Thursday, May 18 at 9 am. Leaders: Anne Cox and Lee Ann Simmons
Adams Ranch is a working cattle ranch with a long history of conservation. It is the model of a successful ranch that is also protecting and preserving environmentally sensitive lands. The ranch helps to preserve the rivers, swamps, marshes, prairies and wooded areas that are on its land, and in doing so protects critical habitat for native wildlife, such as bald eagles, alligators, bobcats, turkey, hawks, owls, Caracara and so much more.
This family owned business, established in 1937 by Alto Adams Sr, and his son Alto “Bud” Adams, Jr., is committed to preserving the natural vegetation, wildlife and its Florida heritage through environmental stewardship and a program of total ranch management. The ranch has won numerous conservation awards including awards from the Florida Audubon Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservat…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Common Blue Violet

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COMMON BLUE VIOLET, Viola sororia Willd. Violet Family (Violaceae)
Submitted by Roger Hammer

The nearly orbicular, toothed leaves of this common species form a rosette measuring up to 3" across. The flowers reach ¾" wide and range from pale to rich blue (rarely white). It is not stoloniferous like many other members of the genus but may form dense colonies, especially along moist trails that bisect its habitat. It principally blooms from January through July in mesic forests throughout mainland Florida but plants may be found flowering throughout the year. In cultivation, it will spread from seed in pots and wherever there is moist, bare soil in shady situations. The seeds of many violets are explosively dehiscent and can be flung several feet away from the parent plant.
Viola is the classical Latin name for a violet and the name sororia means “sisterly,” alluding to its similarity to other violets. It is the state wildflower of Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Illinois, and New Jersey.…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Common Torchwood

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Amyris  elemifera, Common Torchwood
Submitted by Beryn Harty, Miami-Dade Chapter 
Family Name: Rutaceae
Genus/Species: Amyris elemifera
Common Name:  Common Torchwood (Another common name is Sea Torchwood, which is deceiving because  it's salt tolerance is rather low. According to the IRC, " It grows near salt water, but should be protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation."

Native Range: Eastern peninsular Florida, the West Indies, Mexico and Central America (Belize)
What kind of plant is it? : A flowering tree?
Any interesting history: Green wood used as torches, twigs are burned as incense.
What is the shape, color and size of the flower? Clusters of tiny white flowers, new leaf growth often very dark purple

What is the typical natural habitat? Hammocks
What benefits does it have with wildlife? Provides food and cover for wildlife. Larval host for Bahamian and Schaus Swallowtail butterflies. Birds and mammals eat fruits.
Propagation: (seed, seedling)
Availability: Grow…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Jack-in-the-Pulpit

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Arisaema triphyllum Submitted by Tom Palmer, Hernando Chapter 
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) emerges in floodplain forests in most of Florida at the beginning of spring. The plant’s Latin name refers to its three prominent leaves that spread above the spathe that is the “pulpit” from which the common name (also known as Parson-in-the-Pulpit) derives.
The spathe ranges from green to purple. The plant also includes a cluster of red berries that ripen later in the year.

This plant is widespread, growing all over the Eastern United States and as far north as Nova Scotia. However the plant is not uniformly distributed and sometimes may be absent or infrequent in suitable habitat.






Arisaema triphyllum was once divided into two species (A. triphyllum and A. acuminatum) based on morphological differences described by Small and others. It was originally described as Arum triphyllum in 1753. Another common name is Indian turnip. The plant can be eaten as a root vegetable if it is dried…

Reasons to Register NOW for the FNPS Conference

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Submitted by Donna Bollenbach

Registration is now open for the 2017 FNPS Conference. If you know you’re going, you should register early. If you’re undecided, I'm going to try to persuade you! Consider this a sneak preview of what’s in store for you….
Reason #1: There’s Nothing Like It

Florida Native Plant Society President, Catherine Bowman sums it up: There is nothing like it:  You will be in a place of awe inspiring, thought provoking, energizing beauty in the heart of Florida.  The Kissimmee River and Everglades Restoration Areas will extend before you to the south, as the headwaters of the St. Johns River, with its restoration projects and recreational opportunities, flow to the north.  River Ranch, once a cattle trail stop, then a dude ranch, is now a comfortable resort in this rustic, history-rich part of Florida. From River Ranch, the Florida Trail will take you down to KICCO (for Kissimmee Island Cattle Company), now a ghost town with just a few sidewalks but lots of stories…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Venus Looking-Glass

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Triodanis perfoliata  Bellflower Family (Campanulaceae)
Photo and text submitted by Roger L. Hammer, Dade Chapter

Venus’ looking-glass is a native herbaceous annual with hairy, ribbed stems and ovate to elliptic, alternate, clasping leaves that reach about ⅜"–¾" long. The axillary, sessile, 5-lobed flowers measure about ⅜" across. 
Look for this species from February into May, mostly along roadsides and other disturbed sites through the Florida panhandle, across the northern peninsula, and south in the peninsula to Pinellas, Hillsborough, Hardee, Polk, Osceola, and Volusia counties. Globally it ranges from Argentina northward throughout the United States into British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
Native Americans made a tea of the roots and leaves to help relieve indigestion and also “to make one sick all day” as a treatment for overeating. The leaves were also smoked during ceremonies.   Triodanis means “three-toothed” and possibly relates to the 3 calyx lobes on some flowe…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Florida Greeneyes

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Berlandiera subacaulis
Submitted by Jean Evoy, a 30-year veteran of FNPS. She has been active in several chapters including Miami-Dade, Serenoa, and Mangrove.



There are a lot of plants that say “spring”, but one of my favorites is the endemic Florida Greeneyes, Berlandiera subacaulis, named for Jean-Louis Berlandier, a Swiss Physician who collected plants in the early 1800s.


This drought tolerant plant grows throughout most of the Florida peninsula in sandhills, dry flatwoods, and disturbed sites in acid to neutral sandy or loamy soils.  The related Soft Greeneyes, Berlandiera pumila, grows in  the Florida panhandle and south to Marion and Volusia Counties.





Greeneyes flowers are a common sight along roadsides in central Florida. This short-lived perennial can be grown from root division or seeds that are quite easy to collect.  You may also find plants at native plant sales or nurseries.

Greeneyes plants have a deep taproot and hairy stems that may grow up to 20 inches tall.  The bas…
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Why Sponsor the  Florida Native Plant Society Conference?
Submitted by Andy Taylor FNPS Development Director
It is almost time for the 37th annual FNPS conference! You may have been asked to be a sponsor of the conference, but why? What are the benefits for the sponsor?

First, the FNPS annual conference is a premier event on the calendar for Florida’s conservation and environmental community.  People from all walks of life will be in attendance, from homeowners and scientists, to government agencies and environmental professionals to other not for profit organizations. As sponsor you will be connected to a statewide network of environmental advocates. 

This year's conference is being held in the heart of Florida, and central to the largest river restoration project in the world! Our speakers are renowned leaders in the environmental community, both nationally and internationally.

The Florida Native Plant Society is acknowledged by like-minded environmental groups to be a highly …

Wednesday’s Wildflower: American White Water Lily

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Nymphaea odorata Submitted by Lynn Sweetay, Palm Beach Chapter


One of my very favorite wild flowers is Nymphaea odorata, commonly known as the American White Water Lily.  As the name suggests this is a floating aquatic plant (Nymphaea = water sprite; odorata =fragrance) with large, fragrant, white or pink flowers and flat, round, floating leaves. 
The leaves are bright green above and purplish beneath.  It is native to Eastern North America from Florida to Canada.  It can be found in still shallow water (5-7 ft deep) with mucky bottoms.
The flowers open in the morning and remain open until around noon.  There is one flower to a stem, each flower is 2 to 6 inches wide with many rows of white petals.  Petals are ¾ to 4 inches long and pointed at the tip. There can be more than 25 petals to one flower!


The abundant pollen of the flowers attracts small bees (mainly Halictid), various flies, and beetles Turtles also feed on the leaves, petioles, and fruits/seeds of water lilies, as well as…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Blackberries

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Native Blackberries, Rubus spp.  Submitted by Tom Palmer, Hernando Chapter



The lovely white blooms of Florida’s various species of native blackberries (Rubus sp.) in late winter and early spring offer plenty of food for wildlife ranging from Florida black bears to songbirds in late spring.
The flowers attract bees and other pollinators.
Blackberries are common in dense thorny patches along roadsides and in natural areas throughout north and central Florida. The fruit is composed of drupelets that vary in the sizes of the drupelets and the size of the fruits. Although fruiting in central Florida typically occurs in late May or early June, I have observed some fruiting as early as late March.





For people, the flowers offer the promise of cobblers and pies at Fourth of July picnics.
Any blackberries you harvest can be eaten fresh or frozen for later use in pies or cobblers and processed to make jams or jellies.
Here’s a recipe for blackberry cobbler from Farm Journal’s Pie Cookbook.  Put …

Wednesday's Wildflower: Yellow Jessamine

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I could not think of a better native wildflower to feature in February than Yellow Jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens . After reading Roger Hammer's sinister portrayal of this "pretty and evil” native, your appreciation for its lovely flower and fragrance will be restored by the poem “Yellow Jessamine” written by Constance Fenimore Woolson in 1874. Thank you to Peg Urban, who brought this poem to my attention when she remembered it from a past issue of the Palmetto.   

CAROLINA JESSAMINE Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) W.T. Aiton Gelsemium Family (Gelsemiaceae) text and photos by Roger Hammer, Dade Chapter


This twining vine has stems to 20' long with light green, lanceolate leaves from 1"–3" long and ½"–¾" wide. The fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers are about 1½" long and are typically present from January into April. Look for it in deciduous forests south throughout northern and central Florida to Charlotte, Highlands, and Palm Beach Counties. It can clim…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Golden Club

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Golden Club, Orontium aquaticum L.
Text and Photos by Donna Bollenbach, Suncoast Chapter



Golden Club is an aquatic plant that grows from stout rhizomes in shallow streams, ponds and swamps throughout most of Florida, and much of the eastern United States, and on the coastal plains of Southeast Texas.  Typical of plants in the family Araceae, its tiny flowers are closely arranged around a fleshy stem, forming a yellow spadix, thus the common name “Golden Club.” It’s other common name “Never Wet”, refers to its large velvety bluish green leaves with a waxy coating that repels water. Its Latin generic name derives from a plant that grows in the Orontes River of Syria.
Golden Club is a member of the arum family, and related to Jack-in-the pulpit, skunk cabbage and the garden calla lily. It is the only arum species that does not have a spathe (hood formed from a leaf.) The flower of the Golden Club starts out green, turns yellow during pollination, then back to green during fruit formation. …