Showing posts from June, 2021

[Press Release] Florida Native Plant Society Launches New License Plate | "Florida Native" plate shows pride in Florida's native plants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact for Information: Valerie Anderson, Director of Communications and Programming Phone: 386.852.2539 | Email: Tallahassee, FL, June 30, 2021 -- Have you ever been in the park or on a trail somewhere in Florida and seen a tree that just looks so unusual you’re sure it must be one of a kind? Or have you wondered how to have a beautiful, subtropical landscape in Florida without all the water and pesticides you’re told it needs to remain beautiful? Or maybe there’s some eye-catching flower you already have in your garden but aren’t sure what it is and how to keep it alive? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then you’ve needed advice from a Florida Native Plant Society member! Luckily, the 5,000 members of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) spread across 33 chapters all over the state stand ready to help and encourage your interest in native Florida plants. Their efforts will soon be enhanced through a fundraising an

Pollinator Week – Time to wrap it up

Gulf fritillary heading for native firebush blossoms. Photo by Laura Bennet-Kimble Well, here we are: The final day of Pollinator Week. Started 14 years ago when the U.S. Senate unanimously approved designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” to address declining pollinator populations, the week has grown into an international event and continues to raise awareness of the importance of these wonderful creatures that help provide us food. How do they do it? Pollination occurs when a pollen grain moves from the anther (male) to the stigma (female) part of a flower. This can happen on one specific bloom through self-pollination, or multiple blossoms, when the pollen is transported from one flower to another. That typically is helped along by animal pollinators. Wind can certainly transport pollen, as well, which often leads to many, many sneezes, as well as cars turning green with pollen, in the annual springtime pollination extravaganza. This first step in the process l

Bees have earned our respect

Forked bluecurls get a bit bent out of shape when pollinators visit. Dune sunflowers provide a cozy bed for sleeping bees. Florida greeneyes are attractive to many pollinators. Southern Beeblossom ( Oenothera simulans ) blooms are a popular food choice for bumblebees. Photos by Laura Bennett-Kimble. When you think about pollinators, the first insect that probably comes to mind is a busy bee. In the order Hymenoptera, along with wasps and ants, bees are unique in that they typically have hairy bodies and stiff hairs on their rear legs that collect impressive amounts of pollen, making them the best pollinators on the planet. These small pollinators deserve our respect, and they’ve received it for millennia. Bees and their honey have been a part of human culture for centuries, ranging from ancient symbolism to common slang (“she’s such a queen bee,” “the place was a beehive of activity,” etc.). In his commentary, “ Bees in Ancient Egypt ,” Richard Lobban says that, according to ancien

Flying high

Syrphid fly and white-mouth dayflower (Commelina erecta). Syrphid fly and tall jointweed ( Polygonum pinicola ). Fly on beetle on flower. Fly and butterfly sharing a nectar snack. Photos by Laura Bennett-Kimb le. Do a little quick research, and you’ll find that animals are responsible for pollinating about 90% of all  flowering plants and about 30% of the crop plants that land in our grocery stores and kitchens. Think corn, berries, beans, avocado and chocolate. All good stuff, right? And all possible thanks to not just the birds and bees, but also beetles, moths, wasps, small mammals, ants, and flies (Order: Diptera). The order Diptera, with some 17,000 fly species, has its roots in the Greek term for “two-winged,” and the name dates back to Aristotle, who noted that flies, unlike typical four-winged insects, have just two wings, according to Bug Guide . Those thousands of species come in many forms, including house flies, mosquitoes, horseflies, hover flies and midges. In a recen