Posts

Florida Native Plant Society Position on Monarchs and Milkweeds

This policy statement was prepared by the Florida Native Plant Society's Science Committee and is endorsed by the Florida Wildflower Foundation and the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) supports the conservation of native plants and native plant communities. FNPS makes decisions and policy recommendations on the best available scientific information. Recommendations may change with time and circumstances as new information becomes available. Native insects, including pollinators, are critical components of native ecosystems. It is widely recognized that insect populations are in decline. The monarch butterfly ( Danaus plexippus ) is a charismatic insect, whose unique migration attracts much attention. Recently, a controversy regarding monarch butterflies and milkweeds in Florida has raised concerns. Claims that native milkweeds planted in yards and gardens or even those growing in natural areas are damaging to monarch populations are n

๐ŸŒฟ Endangered Scrub Mints: Unveiling Florida's Hidden Treasures ๐ŸŒฟ

Image
Photo of Blushing Scrub Balm / Dicerandra modesta by Valerie Anderson. Meet the scrub mints, some of Florida's most endangered plants. With over half of the 24 known species facing threats of endangerment at state or federal levels, these botanical wonders are struggling to survive amidst climate change, rapid human development, and agricultural expansion. In a groundbreaking study with funding assistance from FNPS, researcher Andre Naranjo and colleagues analysis of a distinct DNA marker suggests that some species, like the Titusville balm, may have been overlooked for federal protection due to taxonomic technicalities. Scrutinizing the evolutionary history of scrub mints, Naranjo and his team unveil a story of resilience amidst tumultuous environmental changes. Originating during the Pliocene era, these plants moved into the southern Florida peninsula as the land emerged from the sea. Yet, their existence is now imperiled by modern threats including development, climate change, a

Study Names Three New Species of Lupines in Florida

Image
A newly published study of lupines in Florida names three new species, all of which are endemic. The rigorous, exhaustive study also raises the rank of one species variation to the species level, a move that may help conservation efforts to protect the species. Authors Edwin Bridges and Steve Orzell focused on the unifoliate group of the genus Lupinus in Florida for their study published in Phytoneuron . (Unifoliate species have a type of compound leaf that consists of a single leaflet.) This unifoliate-leaved group is also known to be a clade, meaning its members share a common ancestor. Bridges and Orzell obtained DNA sequencing data of the unifoliate Florida clade of Lupinus using RADseq, short for restriction-site DNA sequencing. RADseq is a relatively new, cost-effective technology that allows for comparisons of populations at the genetic level. The researchers combined their genetic data with morphologic, geographic and ecologic data — an approach known as “integrative taxonomy”

Call for Nominations - Officers & Board of Directors

We are nearing the time of year when we elect our Officers and Board of Directors. As members of the 2024 Nominating Committee, we encourage you to nominate yourself. You can also nominate others if they agree that they want to run. Nominees must be FNPS members. We are extremely interested in individuals who are organized, motivated, and share our vision of a future where people have greater knowledge of and appreciation for Florida’s natural environment. This year FNPS will be electing a President , Vice President for Finance , a Secretary , and two (2) Directors .   See the Standard Operating Procedures for FNPS Officers in the Handbook for more information. The President is the principal officer representing FNPS, the president shall (1) preside at all meetings of and make reports to members and the Board, (2) acting as the organization's CEO, have general supervision of FNPS affairs, and (3) perform all such other duties that are either incidental to the office or delegated

Blue Toadflax / Linaria canadensis

Image
It’s No Mow Monday! This is our spring series on the native plants that are often considered “weeds” but can play an important ecological role in the urban landscape if allowed to grow. These early spring wildflowers provide nectar and pollen to native bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. Blue Toadflax / Linaria canadensis in bloom on a roadside in urban Orange County. Photo by Mary Keim. Today we are highlighting Linaria canadensis , Blue Toadflax. While neither particularly blue nor a member of the flax / Linaceae family, this lithe wildflower has delicate, bumpy flowers that are attractive to smaller butterflies and bees. Its small lavender and white flowers start blooming from top to bottom in February and March with the ornamental golden seedheads blowing in the breezes now. Blue Toadflax is found throughout Florida and is a common volunteer in lawns and roadsides, as well as in intact native habitats. Blue Toadflax / Linaria canadensis at the Orlando Wetlands Park. P

Welcome to the team, Cherice!

Image
In her words: As a native Floridian, I have long been drawn to Florida’s natural communities. I first became enamored by our state’s rich biodiversity on Girl Scouts camping trips throughout Central Florida. This interest led me to complete a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, and later a M.S. in Interdisciplinary Ecology, from the University of Florida. During my masters program I studied the diversity of native bees in fire-maintained pine savannas, which deepened my understanding of the critical role of native plants in our ecosystems and cemented my passion for conserving them. Over the years I have worked in several different capacities within the fields of ecological research and conservation, including as an environmental monitor on the BP oil spill response, a native pollinator researcher with the UF Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, and as a field biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Research Institute. Before joining FNPS, I worked

Ponce de Leon Springs State Park Field Trip by Lizzy Jenny Dunn

Image
Photo 1. Longleaf Pine and Sweet Bay Chapters joint field trip to Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. In November 2021, Longleaf Pine Chapter and Sweetbay Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society conducted their first-ever combined Chapter field trip in an attempt to reach out to more folks interested in experiencing native plants in the panhandle. Organized by Longleaf Pine Chapter Vice President, Kimberly Bremner, and Sweetbay Chapter President, Jody Wood-Putnam, and led by Jim Burkhalter, curator of the University of West Florida Michael I. Cousens Herbarium, the group convened on Ponce de Leon Springs State Park in Holmes County. Photo 2. On the group hike on the Ponce de Leon Springs State Park Field Trip. With 22 people in attendance, the group identified approximately 108 different species on the excursion. The park boasts nine distinct habitats across the 406 acres of land; and from the beautiful Sandy Creek amongst the mixed hardwood forest (Magnolia grandiflora, Vaccinium ar