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Showing posts from July, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Atlantic Pigeonwings

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ATLANTIC PIGEONWINGS, Clitoria mariana L. Pea Family (Fabaceae) Submitted by Roger Hammer, Dade Chapter


The upper leaves of this vining species have 3 ovate to ovate-lanceolate leaflets that reach up to 2½" long and ¾" wide. The violet or pink flowers reach 2" long. A similar, related, endemic species (Clitoria fragrans) has narrower leaflets, sweetly fragrant flowers, and is known only from the Lake Wales Ridge in Lake, Orange, Polk, and Highlands Counties.
Atlantic pigeonwings blooms in March and continues into October, so look for it in sandhills, scrub, and forest margins throughout much of mainland Florida. For butterfly gardeners, it is a larval host plant of the long-tailed skipper, hoary edge, and southern cloudywing butterflies.
Clitoria alludes to the similarity of the keel of the flower to a clitoris on female genitalia. When the rather risqué genus was first named by Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778) in 1753, he received sharp criticism from other taxonomists of the t…

In Touch: Teaching children to value and respect the wilderness and the creatures that live there.

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Submitted by by Steve Franklin, Guest blogger

I feel certain that, like me, most of you can recall more than one occasion when you didn’t explain your thoughts about a subject as well as know you can. I’m currently experiencing one of those moments.

On the day before Earth Day, a few other volunteers and I conducted an educational field trip event for the first graders from Lake Alfred Elementary School. My portion of the program involved taking them for a short hike on one of the trails at Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve, which is located in the City of Lake Alfred.

Throughout the hike, I was discussing map reading, hiking safety, trail etiquette, and what it means to be a good steward of the land. However, I’m not certain that I did a good enough job of explaining the importance of being thoughtful and considerate of others when we’re out to enjoy the clean, wholesome fun that nature-related activities provide. Did I instill in them a new appreciation of nature and a concern f…

Wednesday’s Wildflower: Seaside Gentian

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Seaside Gentian: Eustoma exultatum Submitted by Beryn Harty, Miami-Dade Chapter, resident of the lower Florida Keys


The beautiful Seaside Gentian, Eustoma exultatum, is a herbaceous wildflower found in brackish to fresh wet coastal areas, and inland in wet prairies. The stunning flowers are usually a shade of light to medium purple with a dark purple center, but some flowers appear almost white with dark purple centers.

Eustoma means wide or beautiful wide-open mouth (referring to the flower’s shape), while exaltatum means tall. These flowers may reach several feet high, with gray-green leaves that clasp the stem.












Family Name:Gentianaceae Genus/Species: Eustoma exultatum Common Name(s): Seaside Gentian Native Range: Southeastern, midwestern and western United States south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America Hardiness zone: 10-11 Soil Type: wet, poorly drained Preferred Sun: Full Height at maturity: 1’ to 3’ Propagation: (seed, seedling) Dried pods …

Wednesday's Wildflower: Southern Beeblossom

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



Southern Beeblossom is a common wildflower of roadsides, fields, dunes and open woods in Florida.  It used to be called Gaura angustifolia, but a few years ago the evening primrose family underwent extensive revisions and G. angustifolia, was renamed Oenothera simulans along with several other species of that were included in the genus Gaura.
Southern Beeblossom has slender, branched, hairy stems that may reach six feet. The leaves are reduced on the upper parts of the plant and tiny flowers are found near the ends of wand-like stems. The flowers are white when they open in the evening.They become pinkish the following day before withering.As the name beeblossom indicates, the flowers are attractive to many insects, including bees, butterflies and moths. 

If you look very closely you can see six to eight long-stemm…

Wednesday’s Wildflower: Drumheads

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Polygala cruciata, Drumheads
Text, photos and poetry by Donna Bollenbach. Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society

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Some native flowers are greatly admired, but have yet to make it into our gardens. One is the showy Drumhead, Polygala cruciata. With a few exceptions, Drumheads are found throughout Florida. Like many members of the Polygalaceae or Milkwort family, they like moist, open habitats and are found in moist prairies, the edges of marshes, and wet  pinelands.


The Drumhead is an annual. It's conical pink to lavender flowers are arranged on elliptical heads. What most people refer to as the “flower” is a composite of pink, spiky sepals surrounding a tiny yellowish white flower.  As the flower fades, the sepals remain for several weeks, forming the "drumhead." While the nested sepals may give the impression of little crosses, the scientific name "cruciate" refers to the shape of the 4-angled stem. The short, linear leaves occur in whorls of 4 …

Methods to Remember: Concrete Steps for Teaching Conservation to Kids

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Submitted by Jackie Edwards, Guest Blogger

Now more than ever, environmental conservation is a hot button issue. Despite the fact that it may feel like an individual contribution to cleaning up the environment is insignificant, enough individuals can effectively become a collective. This means that our kids have also got to be taught how to conserve their environment and care for their local plantlife. For kids it may be difficult to understand environmental conservation and why it is so important, but with these simple steps you can make it fun, simple and engaging while they're interacting with your garden or the local flora.

Make Recycling a No-Brainer

Too many people still don’t recycle their waste on a daily basis. Although multi-national companies are steadily becoming more environmentally friendly with their products, some still dispose of their waste in an inappropriate way. From a young age encourage kids to differentiate between what can and cannot be recycled.

Educate Your …