Friday, April 28, 2017

Learn About Land Management Reviews

The schedule for the 2017/2018 Land Management Reviews is out. Being a part of Land Management Reviews is an important part of the Florida Native Plant Society mission to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. It is also a very rewarding experience for anyone who has participated in one.

At the Florida Native Plant Society's 37th Annual Conference in May there will be a special field trip where you can Learn About Land Management Reviews. The site for the Thursday morning training will be Lake Kissimmee State Park. Led by Eugene Kelly and Eric Egensteine (Park Manager), this trip is designed to serve as a case study for the state’s Land Management Review process.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower:Spanish Needle

Spanish Needle, Bidens Alba
Submitted by Donna Bollenbach, Suncoast Chapter

Biden's alba, all photos by Donna Bollenbach
Nothing attracts more butterflies and bees than a simple white flower called Bidens alba. Also called Romerillo, Beggar’s Tick, Spanish Needle or Monkey’s Lice, this Florida native wildflower is the third most reliable source of nectar for pollinators in our state. There would be many starving bees and butterflies if not for the Bidens family of flowers. More so, Bidens alba and its sister plant, Bidens pilosa, are both edible and have medicinal value. Yet, many gardeners have a love/hate relationship the plant, and some even consider it a pesky weed. Why?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Scrub Lupine

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

Scrub Lupine, photo by Tom Palmer

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 to distinguish it from

Young Scrub Lupine Seedlings at Lake Blue Scrub
photo by  Donna Bollenbach
Although Scrub Lupine was once found in scores of locations, the number of sites where it is still found has declined due to habitat degradation and development. The only protected sites where this lupine is found today are on a federal preserve that is not open to the public near Lake McLeod in Eagle Lake in Polk County and Bill Frederick Park, a county park in Orange County.

Seedlings that were propagated at Bok Tower’s Rare Plant Conservation Program have been brought to Lake Blue Scrub and Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Park in Polk County and to Wekiva Springs State Park and Tibet-Butler Preserve in Orange County, but whether these plantings will result in sustainable populations is still undetermined. 

Tom Palmer, a Lakeland Ledger reporter since 1980, retired in 2016. He has been referred to "as a walking encyclopedia of everything environmental." Palmer truly loves the outdoors and often spends weekends birding, searching for the exotic or cleaning trash from lakefronts and other areas. We are thankful to have Tom as a member of the Hernando Chapter of FNPS. 

Other Links: 
Hawthorn Hill Wildflowers Blog: Scrub Lupine

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Conservation on a Working Ranch : Adams Ranch

FNPS Conference Field Trip Highlight: Adams Ranch
Day: Thursday, May 18 at 9 am.
Leaders: Anne Cox and Lee Ann Simmons

Rainbow over Adams Ranch,  Bud Adams/Photographer

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.

Caracara, Donna Bollenbach/Photographer
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 Conservation Commission.

In a Tampa Bay Times article in 2015 by Michael Kruse, Florida rancher's wish: a legacy of his land pristine forever,  paraphrases Bud Adams:"What Adams wants, here near the end, coming up on 89 years old, is for the ranch land that bears his name, some 40,000 acres spread over four Florida counties, to remain the way it is — for his children, for their children, for the children's children." 

Come on this field trip to learn how a major agricultural operation can maintain valuable native habitats while running a quality cow/calf operation.  Ranches are a major component of natural connectivity in Florida, and this is a success story in merging ranching and environmental sustainability.

Adams Ranch, Bud Adams/Photographer

Your leaders are Dr. Anne Cox and FNPS past president.  LeeAnn Simmons is a 4th generation rancher and part of the Adams family.

To visit Adams Ranch, just choose Field Trip K when you register for the 2017 Florida Native Plant Society Conference. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Common Blue Violet

COMMON BLUE VIOLET, Viola sororia Willd.
Violet Family (Violaceae)

Submitted by Roger Hammer

Viola sororia, photo 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. Hover flies seek nectar from the flowers and are effective pollinators.

It was once called “lesbian flower” because, in the early 1900s, lesbians would offer flowers of this species to women they were wooing. This was called “sapphic desire” because the Greek poet Sappho (ca. 630–570 BC), who lived on the island of Lesbos (now Lesvos, and the source of the word “lesbian”) in the northeastern Aegean Sea, wrote a love poem about her lesbian partner wearing a garland of violet flowers, and violets still today remain a symbol for lesbian women. Sappho was a poetic genius who often mentioned Aphrodite, the goddess of love, in her poems, and would become the most acclaimed woman of ancient Greek history. After her death, Sappho was branded by the Christian church as a “whore” and her poetry was described as deviant works due to her “unnatural” love for other women. And all this became intertwined in the history of this simple violet flower, native to Florida.

Roger is a member of the FNPS Dade Chapter and is currently working on a new Falcon Guide titled Complete Guide to Florida Wildflowers, due to be released in Spring 2018. His other wildflower guides include Florida Keys Wildflowers (2004), Everglades Wildflowers (2nd edition, 2014), and Central Florida Wildflowers (2016).

Other links: 
USF Plant Atlas: Viola sororia

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Common Torchwood

Amyris  elemifera, Common Torchwood
Submitted by Beryn Harty, Miami-Dade Chapter 

Photo by  Beryn Harty, Taken on roadside, Ramrod Key, FL

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: Grown by some native nurseries.  Growing from seed sometimes successful (I’ve done it, myself).

Beryn Harty is a member of Miami-Dade Chapter FNPS as there is no current Keys chapter.  He lives full time on Ramrod Key. 

Other Links
IRC link: Common torchwood, Sea torchwood
USF Plant Atlas: Amyris elemifera
FNPS: Torchwood