Showing posts from May, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Star Anise & Florida Anise

Illicium spp., Anise
submitted by Tom Palmer, Heartland Chapter

Florida has two native species of anise that look quite different and are found in very different regions of the state. Both bloom in spring.

Star Anise

The Yellow Anise Tree/Star  Anise, Illicium parviflorum, is found in hydric hammocks in a handful of Central Florida counties from Marion to Polk. It reportedly once occurred in Georgia, but has been extirpated. While classified as endangered in Florida, it is locally common in places such as the Marion Creek Basin in northeast Polk County.The type specimen was collected in 1799 in Marion County.

Star Anise grows to be a small tree, with inconspicuous greenish-yellow bell-shaped flowers. The common name refers to the yellow star-shaped seed pods.

Florida Anise
Florida Anise, Illicium floridanum, is found in slope forests,  creek forests and similar habitats throughout the Panhandle, such as the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines in Liberty County, as well as in parts of Geor…
EASTERN BLUESTAR Amsonia tabernaemontana Walter Dogbane Family (Apocynaceae)
Submitted by Roger Hammer

This perennial wildflower reaches 3' tall with smooth stems and lanceolate to elliptic leaves from 3–4" long and ¾"­–1" wide (the uppermost leaves are sessile). It can form large, multi-stemmed clumps and is easy to see when in flower. Pale blue, ¾", star-shaped flowers are in terminal clusters. Flowering season begins in March and lasts into August so look for it in the floodplain forests of the Florida panhandle east to Columbia, Alachua, and Levy Counties. It ranges across the eastern United States to Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and is on its southern range extension in Florida.
Amsonia commemorates English physician John Amson (1698–1763) who moved to Virginia and was mayor of Williamsburg from 1750–1751. The name tabernaemontana honors Jacob Theodor von Bergzabern (1520–1590), who changed his name to Jakobus Theodorus Tabernaemontanus (literally “tavern in th…

Conference Field Trip Follow-up: Camp Lonesome Conservation Area

Camp Lonesome Field Trip Follow up  Submitted by Jenny Welch, Sparkleberry Chapter
If you were swayed to go on the Camp Lonesome Field Trip by Jenny's pre-conference blog, then you were one of the lucky ones. Here Jenny provides a follow up on the plants and animals observed at this very special place: 

On our way to Camp Lonesome there were two crested caracaras beside the road, and we saw turkeys with cute babies. Beautiful bright yellow meadowlarks were singing melodiously, as if to welcome us as we drove up to the gate.  A loggerhead shrike was catching breakfast in the field as we gathered to begin our hike, and blue gray gnatcatchers, northern parulas, and cardinals were calling from the trees as we started to walk.
We could tell Camp Lonesome was very dry from the ongoing drought because the gallberry had dropped their leaves and the normally wet areas were completely dry. Even drought resilient ferns were brown. But, despite the drought we could smell the aromatically sweet fr…

Wednesday's Wildflower Whitemouth Dayflower

Commelina erecta
submitted by Beryn Harty, Miami Dade Chapter

Whitemouth Dayflower, Commelina erecta,  is a prostrate, herbaceous, perennial wildflower with very showy morning blooms which may bloom throughout the year. The flower is  quarter sized, bright blue, with two larger ear-shaped petals and a small white lower petal (the mouth).

The typical habitat for Whitemouth Dayflower is scrubs and dry upland sites. The pollination strategy is complex: The bright yellow anthers have no pollen but attract bees who are dusted by the pollen on the smaller, less visible anthers. Insects and birds will also eat the small seeds.

Commelina erecta is named for three Dutch botanist brothers, the Commelijns.  Erecta means upright.

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

Family Name: Commelinaceae
Genus/Species: Commelina erecta
Common Name(s): Whitemouth Dayflower, Slender dayflower
Native Range: North America South thr…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Fewflower Milkweed

Asclepias lanceolata
submitted by Lynn Sweetay, Palm Beach Chapter

A. lanceolata is tall with a herbaceous stem that does not branch.  Leaves are very narrow and lanceolate. Flowers are orange to red and yellow. Flowering occurs in early summer. It is a larval host plant for monarch and queen butterflies and a possible larval host for soldier butterflies as well as providing nectar for monarch and other butterflies and insects.

It prefers wet to moist seasonally inundated sandy soils without humus.  This plant does not tolerate salt or drought and prefers full sun and low nutrients.   I grow one on my back patio in full sun in a pot placed in a tub of water.  It is a perennial so it will die back and then reappear. It is an occasional, but widespread understory plant in open freshwater wetlands and pinelands.

The range includes Southeastern United States north to New Jersey, west to Texas and south to Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland.  This milkweed can be found throug…