Showing posts from February, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Yellow Jessamine

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

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. …

Wednesday Wildflowers: Sundial and Skyblue Lupines

Today's Wednesday's Wildflower features two species of Lupine, the Sandhill Lupine, submitted by Roger Hammer, and the Sundial Lupine, submitted by Bill Berthet. Edited by Valerie Anderson.

Sandhill Lupine, Lupinus cumulicolaText and photo by Roger Hammer, Dade Chapter
From January to May each year the white sand scrub on the Lake Wales Ridge in Lake, Osceola, Polk, and Highlands Counties are adorned with the cheery blue flowers of the Florida endemic skyblue lupine (pronounced LOO-PIN). Some botanists consider it a synonym of Lupinus diffusus but others argue that L. diffusus differs by its habitat, range, prostrate to decumbent stems, orbicular-reniform (kidney-shaped) standard, and a nearly straight beak on the pods. The stems of Lupinus cumulicola are usually erect with gray-green, silky pubescent, elliptic leaves that average 2”–3” long and about 1” wide. The pods have a curved beak.
Lupinus is taken from lupus, or “wolf,” and alludes to the curious belief that these plants…

Pawpaw Chapter gives awards to budding environmental scientists...

Submitted by Don Spence and Sonya Guidry, Pawpaw Chapter of FNPS

Once again the Pawpaw Chapter sponsored a special award at the annual Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair, held at Spruce Creek High School on Jan. 28. Pawpaw’s judges were Don Spence, Danny Young and Sonya Guidry.

The PawPaw Chapter selected Emma Schlageter as first-place winner. Ms. Schlageter’s project reported on the biodiversity of salt marsh restoration in the Halifax River basin.

The first-place winner received a certificate, a wildflower guide by Dr. Walter Taylor, $60.00, and a student membership.

An honorable mention was awarded to Isabel Kraby.  Ms. Kraby examined leaf pigments of plants commonly found in Florida.

Our honorable mention winner received a certificate and a student membership.  
Both young women are middle school students. 

Emma Schlageter is no stranger to estuary restoration, it runs in the family, as her proud father illustrates in these family photos:

This is a photo of my Emma and …

Wednesday's Wildflower: Bahama Senna

Senna mexicana var. chapmanii
Submitted by Beryn Harty, Miami-Dade Chapter, resident of the lower Florida Keys

Bahama Senna is a small shrub, or sprawling groundcover with showy yellow flowers that bloom year-round in its natural, southern range. The bright yellow, five petal flowers, about the size of a US quarter, bloom the heaviest in the fall and winter. 

Bahama Senna is the host plant for Cloudless Sulphur, Orange Barred Sulphur, and Sleepy Orange Butterflies. Its preferred habitat is pine rocklands and rockland hammock edges in moist, well-drained limestone soils, typically in full sun to light shade. 

While listed as threatened in the state of Florida, it is easy to find and grow, stocked by many native nurseries, and can be grown from seed.  

Family Name: Fabaceae
Genus/Species: Senna mexicana var. chapmanii
Common Name(s): Bahama Senna, Chapman's wild sensitive plant, Mexican Senna. 
Native Range: South Florida and the West Indies (Cuba, Bahamas)
Hardiness zone: 11
Soil Type: Moist…