Showing posts from January, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Pineland Heliotrope

Heliotropium polyphyllum
Submitted by Cathy Beals, Palm Beach County Chapter 

The Pineland Heliotrope is a partly erect to prostrate perennial herb with hairy stems and numerous alternate leaves.  Even though the flowers are very small, they usually bloom in paired spikes, often with hundreds of brilliant yellow or white flowers at one time, making it obvious, even in small clusters along the side of a road or cultivated in your garden.

This Florida native blooms year round in the Coastal areas from Flagler County South to the Keys and grows in a wide variety of inland counties in habitats including sandy coasts, prairies, flatwoods, and rocky pinelands.  It is sometimes seen on the drier, plant side of swampy areas (on the sunny edges) where there has been some disturbance, such as the road between the canal and the wetlands at Sandhill Crane Access Park in Palm Beach Gardens where this picture was taken.

Cathy Beals is a member of the Palm Beach County Chapter of FNPS and has served on …

Wednesday's Wildflower: Sweet Acacia

Vachellia farnesiana,formerlyAcacia farnesianaSubmitted by John Holyland, Mangrove Chapter

Sweet Acacia, (Pronunciation: uh-KAY-shuh far-nee-zee-AY-nuh), is a large shrub or small tree in the legume family. It is native to the Americas, including the Southern United States, Mexico, and the tropics. Sweet Acacia is fast growing and drought tolerant, making it good for landscapes, but it can suffer from root rot if too wet. As it is very thorny, with thorns on its trunks and branches, it should be placed away from walkways. 

The oval yellow flowers, about 1-2 cm. in diameter, bloom in the winter. They are very fragrant and have a long history of being using to make perfume and scented ointments. The fruits are cylindrical green pods that will will turn purple as they age. 

The thorny branches make good cover for birds and other wildlife, and bees love to forage in flowers. 

Legend has it that Jesus’ Crown of Thorns came from a tree of the Acacia family.


Northern Alabama: Discovering Natives with our Neighbors

Submitted by Devon Higginbotham
Devon's quest to find a stateside location for an FNPS Native Plant Tour, brought her and her husband to North Alabama, where they found the natural areas and plants to be as diverse as anywhere in Florida, and the people just as dedicated to preserving them. You too can discover our native plant neighbors on the FNPS NORTH ALABAMA NATIVE PLANT TOURAPRIL 17 – 22ND, 2017.

Though I’ve travelled throughout the United States, it never seems to be enough.  The United States is so huge, and every state and region has its own unique features; sugar white beaches, rocky cliffs, huge peaked mountains, rolling hills, prairies and alpine meadows.   Every state is diverse, and each season brings different wildflowers and foliage. Spring is nothing like fall, winter or summer. Newly emerging leaves in spring are translucent, ephemeral, pale green.  Fall evolves to the crisp oranges, reds and yellows. I want to see it all……over and over.
Last October, my husband a…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Horned Bladderwort & Small Butterwort

Utricularia cornuta, Horned Bladderwort 
Submitted by Carole Tebay, Longleaf Pine Chapter

"How charming," was my thought upon noticing dainty yellow flowers blooming on the floor of a nearly dry ephemeral pond. Then I remembered their identification and realized I was strolling among predators.

The diminutive horned bladderwort, Utricularia cornuta, has an underground bladder which sucks in tiny insects and worms when its hairs are triggered.

The plant's genus, Utricularia, comes from the Latin for bladderwort. Cornuta, is from the Latin, horned, which describes the horn on the snapdragon-like flower. Thus the common name, horned bladderwort. It is also called leafless bladderwort because the small leaves are underground.

The flowers of the horned bladderwort are a reminder of the drama taking place in the world just below our feet.

Family Name: BladderwortGenus/Species: Utricularia cornutaCommon Name(s): Horned BladderwortType of Plant: wildflowerBlooms: year roundNative Rang…

Critically Imperiled Elfins Disappearing from the Forest

Article and Photos by Bill Berthet Ixia Chapter

Heart pounding, intoxicated with adrenaline, kneeling in a field of swaying 2-3 foot high wiregrass (Aristida stricta) I was trying to follow the fast, low erratic flight of a small brown butterfly. As it finally landed several feet off the ground on a curved section of wiregrass I was able to observe, photograph, and ID this butterfly as the frosted elfin (Callophrys irus Godart, 1824) Florida ssp. arsace (Boisduval & LeConte 1835) FNAI S1 (critically imperiled). I looked up into the clear blue sky with a fist pump yelling “YES!,Thank you mother nature for this moment!”. 
Treasure hunting comes in many forms. A minute later I spotted two tiny dark butterflies whirling and darting around several feet off the ground finally landing, “Excellent” a pair of Dusky Roadside-Skippers (Amblyscirtes alternata) Florida Natural Areas Inventory S2 (imperiled).
Historically the frosted elfin has been documented from Ontario, Canada to Northern Flor…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Wiregrass Gentian

Gentiana pennelliana 

Submitted by Kitty Loftin, Sarracenia Chapter

Genus: Gentiana Species: Gentiana pennelliana Fernald Family: Gentianaceae Common name: Wiregrass gentian

Wiregrass gentian is a small, rare perennial plant of moist to wet flatwoods and savannas.  It is an endemic species, restricted in distribution to nine counties in the Florida panhandle. It needs to have sunlight for growth and for the flowers to open. It is often found growing with wiregrass, thus the common name. 

The 1 1/2 to 2 1/2-inch-long flowers are borne singly or in pairs at the tip of the stem.  They are white inside and white suffused with purple outside. They bloom in winter, typically December-January It's threatened by habitat loss, fire suppression, and is listed as endangered.  

The genus Gentiana is named after Gentius, a 6th century King of Illyria, who used the roots of the yellow gentian to treat malaria in his soldiers.
Kitty Loftin photographed this Gentian in Sopchoppy in the Florida Panhandle w…