Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Florida favorites

In swampy areas throughout the state, one can find the
spectacular Hibiscus coccineus growing at the edge of
swamps.
.It may seem that I spend more time among the mountains of the west or even more exotic locations, but I have of course been living and teaching in Florida for over 40 years, and I have accumulated some nice photos from this fine state as well!  I have already shared my favorite carnivorous plants of Florida, and here are few of my other favorites.

In Florida, one does not go up the side of a mountain to find different habitats, nor follow changing climatic conditions to go from forest to desert. Here, however, just a few feet of elevational difference can thrust one into a different community.  Florida might be described as an elongate swamp surrounded by beaches. That's an oversimplification, of course.  There are hilly areas, mostly old piles of sand, and vast flat areas that flood some times in the year and are dry at other times, but all of these may be fairly close together.  Within the short distance of 50 feet, one can go from sandhill vegetation, through pine flatwoods, and down into a cypress swamp.

Florida lies over limestone, which is exposed in some areas, particularly in the south, and occasionally in sinkholes.  Here one finds different, lime-tolerant plants.

Hibiscus grandiflorus is another of the 12 species
of hibiscus to occur in Florida.  It also is found at
the edge of swamps, sometimes not far from its
bright red cousin.


Florida is also a fairly long state, and from north to south, one can go from an essentially Appalachian flora, with meadows filled with the eastern red columbine, to the nearly tropical everglades and keys in the south, where a number of native palms dwell.  It is indeed an exciting state botanically.
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The eastern red columbine, Aquilegia canadensis,
is found in meadows over limestone in the far north
of the state.
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Lilium catesbaei blooms in moist meadows in the Fall.

Ipomoea cordatotriloba is one of many wild
morning glories in Florida.



Lycopodiella cernua has no flowers, but makes a
dramatic appearance in wet meadows
and pond edges.

Scutellaria arenicola is a member of the mint family,
(Lamiaceae)

The non-vining Clematis baldwinii (Ranunculaceae)
occurs in pine flatwoods.

Clematis reticulata grows in the dry soil of the
sandhill community.

Clematis crispa grows in wet soil along rivers and swamps.

Crinum americanum (Amaryllidaceae) grows in swamps, along with the floating water fern, Salvinia.

Like its spectacular cultivated cousin, the wild poinsettia,
Euphorbia cyathophora, has brightly colored bracts surrounding
clusters of tiny flowers. Photo by Glenn Fleming

Bidens laevis is one of many members of the sunflower family.  This one
grows in swamps and river margins.

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Liatris aspera is a member of the sunflower family,
but with rather loose flower heads. it blooms in
the Fall.
Sabatia is a genus of the Gentian family.

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