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Showing posts from June, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Tickseed, Coreopsis spp.

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Tickseed, Coreopsis spp.
Submitted by Carol Mahler, Serenoa Chapter of Florida Native Plant Society


Although the orange blossom, Citra sinensis, was named our state flower in 1909, the legislature designated the genus Coreopsis as our state wildflower in 1991. According to the Netstate, the story began in 1963 as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) finished a project near Tallahassee that required sod. The sod field had previously been a pasture planted in red clover—a winter forage for cattle. When the clover blossomed in the new grass, people complimented FDOT for their “highway beautification.” That praise inspired FDOT to plant native wildflowers along Florida’s highways.

A partnership with the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs funded a research project at Florida Atlantic University. The results recommended many varieties of coreopsis, and the Federation lobbied for coreopsis to be designated as Florida’s state wildflower. The Florida Statutes, Title 4, Chapter 15, Se…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Withlacoochee Noddingcap

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WITHLACOOCHEE NODDINGCAPS Triphora craigheadii Luer Orchid Family (Orchidaceae)
Submitted by Roger Hammer, Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society


The fragile, succulent stem of this native orchid averages 1"–2" tall with 1–4 broadly ovate, 3/8" leaves that are dark green above and purple below. 
Flowers are about 3/16" wide and last only 2 hours in the morning. Plants often produce 2 buds that open a week apart. What this means is that you need to be standing in front of plants in bud during June and July at about 10:00 o’clock in the morning and, if you’re lucky, a flower will open. A clue to a bud opening is it stands straight up the day before if opens. Otherwise the buds are nodding. If you miss it, you’ll have one more chance the following week. If you miss that chance, then you’ll have to wait another year.
It is endemic to mesic forests of Citrus, Sumter, Hernando, Highlands, and Collier Counties and can be regarded as one of the rarest wildflowers in th…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Coastal Groundcherry

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Coastal Groundcherry, Physalis augustifolia submitted by Carol Tebay, Longleaf Pine Chapter

I spent my first winter on the Intercoastal Waterway at Big Lagoon in Escambia County getting to know some of the plants in this scrub dune habitat.  I spotted one plant I couldn't identify. Then, in April, while searching the internet to identify some tracks I’d found in the sand, I came across a list of plants that beach mice depend on for food.  I’d recently spotted one of them, the Coastal Groundcherry, Physalis angustifolia (narrow-leaved).  In this harsh, coastal environment, where I tower over many mature runner oaks, Coastal Groundcherry hugs the ground. Just the right height for a tiny beach mouse.


According to the Atlas of Florida Plants, there are ten native species of Physalis growing in Florida.   While Coastal Groundcherry seems to prefer Gulf Coast counties, at least one species of Physalis can be found in most Florida counties.

Physalis are a member of the nightshade (Solan…

Short Plants in Sun: Natives for Urban Gardens

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Submitted by Richard Brownscombe Reprinted with permission from the April newsletter of the Broward County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society 
Plants under a foot high are very useful in the urban garden. You can avoid mulch if there are enough small plants to outcompete the weeds. Short native species may be the most interesting in a landscape because they are underutilized and seldom seen. All of the species below prefer full sun and are native to Broward County. Let's jump right into looking at a few species for drier soils and then a few more for average-moisture soils.
Sun/Drier Soils We have identified four species for places in your landscape of Sun and Drier Soils. Sun means at least 6 hours including the hot midday sun. All drought-tolerant plants need water, but have evolved ways to retain it or roots to reach for it. Generally, well-drained sandy soils are suitable for these scrub species. Give them deep watering until the roots take hold. Wilting leaves or mo…

Wednesday's Wildflower: Buttonbush

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Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis

Submitted by Jean Evoy, a 30-year veteran of FNPS. She has been active in several chapters including Miami-Dade, Serenoa, and Mangrove.

Every spring I anxiously await the first sign of buttonbush blossoms.  Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, thrives in swamps, sloughs, marshes and along the edges of ponds and lakes  throughout most of North American and the West Indies. Even though the flower heads don’t look anything like modern buttons, their pincushion-like structures make buttonbush an interesting and attractive addition to our Florida landscape.

Buttonbush is an understory shrub, or small tree with arching branches. It has attractive reddish-brown bark and opposite or whorled leaves.  The intriguing globular inflorescences contain numerous bisexual, sessile, white flowers. The fragrant flowers are 4-lobed, with 4 united sepals, 4 stamens and a single pistil. The styles extend beyond the flowers.  The entire inflorescences is about 3-4 ce…
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Seeing Old Friends for the Very First Time Submitted by Devon Higginbotham, Indigo Travel Company
I remember visiting the Appalachians for the first time.  It was 1971 and with my new driver’s license firmly in hand, I accepted an invite from my older sister and her girlfriend, Francie, to go camping in Vogel State Park in north Georgia.

We loaded my sister’s manual-shift ‘68 Camaro, which started life brown but had recently been painted a striking shade of Canary yellow, with all our gear and set off.  My sister decided to give me a lesson in down-shifting and though I knew how to drive a stick shift on level ground, the mountains were proving a challenge and my sister’s patience soon dissolved.  Thereafter, my sister was happy for me to simply gaze out the window from the rear seat.

Growing up in Miami, I had never witnessed the transformation of spring and, to this day, I can still recall marveling at the translucent spring leaves as they fluttered in the breeze.  It was a transfo…