The purpose of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. This blog presents ideas and information to further the cause of Florida's native plants and ecosystems.
FNPS Requests Veto of SB 2508
On March 16th we sent a letter to Governor DeSantis recommending that he veto the atrocious Senate Bill 2508 which would replace the scientifically-rigorous and highly successful statewide conservation land purchasing program known as Florida Forever with the agricultural land protection program Rural and Family Lands that had been run alongside Florida Forever as a complementary easement program.
You can read our letter here and please consider contacting the Governor to veto this bill.
By Lilly Anderson-Messec The red and yellow blooms of tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica , are ubiquitous in Florida butterfly gardens. This non-native milkweed has exploded in popularity as demand for milkweed grows to support declining monarch butterfly populations. This tropical species is native to Mexico and very easy to propagate, so growers are able to quickly produce plant material to meet the milkweed demand. It’s also very showy, blooming prolifically all season and regrowing quickly after being decimated by hungry caterpillars. Unfortunately, tropical milkweed has been an increasingly invasive species in Central and South Florida for many years, and has begun spreading in North Florida as well. It’s fast growth and prolific re-seeding have resulted in large monocultures of tropical milkweed in natural areas. This unchecked growth replaces native plants and disrupts the native ecosystems that both wildlife and humans rely on. The invasive quality of this plant is is j
Austrailian Pine fruits Australian pines seem to be everywhere in the coastal regions in the bottom half of Florida. Their name is deceiving because, while they are native to Australia, they aren't pines or even conifers. They are flowering trees with separate male and female flowers, and what look like needles are really green twiglets with close-set circles of tiny leaves that drop at the first sign of a drought. In the photo to the right, the light-colored lines are where leaves where once attached. Most of the photosynthesis takes place in the twiglets. There are three species of Australian pine ( Casuarina spp ) that have been imported into Florida for various purposes. They were widely planted to soak up the "swamps" in Florida, stabilize canals, and hold beaches. Unfortunately for Florida's ecosystems, the "pines" accomplished all this and more--like seeding prolifically, growing five feet or more per year, producing dense shade, and emitting
Piedmont Azalea, Rhododendron canescens. Photo by Lilly Anderson-Messec By Lilly Anderson-Messec While growing up in North Florida, I began to recognize the arrival of spring by the boisterous show of white, pink, and fuchsia blooms of azalea shrubs. The house I grew up in had large, mature azalea hedges with a variety of different colors and forms. Every spring, my mom would bring in vases full of them and my dad loved to point out the showy shrubs as we drove through town. I suppose I assumed these plants were native, but most likely I never gave it a thought. I didn’t differentiate a native plant from a non-native one because I didn’t yet know the importance of native plants as the basis of our functioning ecosystems. I was so surprised when I learned the azaleas I was so familiar with (Rhododendron indicum) are actually transplants from Asia! They are favored by the horticultural industry for their fast, vigorous, and dense growth of evergreen leaves and large, showy blooms. Curio