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Showing posts from March, 2014

Lasting Legacies

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Bob Egolf (right) with Anne Cox. Photo © Shirley Denton. It’s always difficult to lose long-standing friends to the ravages of time. The best we can do is to remember our friends and honor their memory by continuing the good work of the Society that engaged them to begin with. Sometimes, these friends honor us as well, by remembering the Florida Native Plant Society in their wills, and other times we honor them through tributes and memorial gifts. Two recent losses to the Society come to mind when speaking of the impact the Society has on the lives of our members, and the lasting legacy their commitment to the protection of native plants and natural communities has on the Society. When Bob Egolf passed last year, the Society mourned this immense loss. An avid gardener, promoter of native landscapes, and a conservation-minded advocate for nature protection, Bob was a dedicated leader of the Florida Native Plant Society. He served the organization in so many capacities, from

Florida's Native Shamrocks

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Aye and begorrah - Saint Patrick’s Day is upon us, as are all things green. Whether or not you choose to indulge in a green beer is your call, but one thing that will be nearly impossible to avoid today are shamrocks. Medicago lupulina (Black medick) is one of the four "shamrocks" commonly worn in Ireland For starters, shamrocks are neither part sham nor part rock, so what's with the name? The Irish word for clover is seamair , and its diminutive is seamróg ; an American ear will hear this as shamrock. Incidentally, shamrocks are registered as a trademark by the Irish government. So now that we're past the etymology, what genus and species of plant is this "little clover"? Apparently, not even the Irish have reached a consensus about this. A 1988 survey conducted at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin revealed that when the Irish wear the "shamrock," it can be any one of four different plants (none of which are Florida natives

Native Orchid Names

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By Chuck McCartney Naming conventions Scientific names of naturally occurring plants (and animals, too) seem to “scare” the average person when they really shouldn’t. In botany, the first part of the italicized name (the genus) is always capitalized. The second part (the species) is always lowercase (in modern usage), even when it’s derived from a proper name. Thus, the Dollar Orchid of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties is Prosthechea boothiana , even though the species is named in honor of William Beattie Booth, the grower for wealthy 19th Century English orchidist Sir Charles Lemon. (The rules for names of man-made hybrids and cultivated varieties are different.) These seemingly strange-looking plant names are made up primarily of Latin or Greek words, with some names derived from the names of people or places. But if you understand the meanings of these plant names, they might not be so intimidating. Here are the meanings of the scientific names for some of South Florida’s more w

Falling Waters State Park, a profile

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Sunrise is an excellent time for a hike at Falling Waters (or pretty much anywhere else) because the light is interesting for photos and there are fewer people on the trail. On this hike we didn't see anyone else in two hours even though the 25-site campground in the park was almost full. Falling Waters State Park , at the highest elevation of Florida's state parks at a whopping 324', is lovely park in Florida's Panhandle about an hour west of Tallahassee and just a few miles south of I-10. It has 25 campsites, a swimming hole and the state's highest waterfall with a drop of 70' into a 100'-deep sinkhole. There are other sinkholes as well because of the karst topography where the rain water eats through the limestone bedrock. There's a good assortment of trees, shrubs, grasses and other understory plants. Well worth a visit.   The trail starts out through the longleaf pine ( Pinus palustris ) and wiregrass ( Aristida stricta var. beyrichiana )