Monday, November 23, 2009

Fall Harvest of Plenty

…still left in bloom and showing off seed in the Back Woods


Beautiful patches of snowy hammock snakeroot (Ageratina jucunda) are popping up through out the Back Woods right now. The hammock snakeroot is sweetly fragrant and reminiscent of the fragrance dog fennel flowers (genus Ageratina was once Eupatorium the genus of dog fennel.)

Dainty sprays of pink not quite purple climbing aster (Symphiotrichum carolinianum) are sprawling out of the wetlands here and there. There is a lovely patch of of this growing over one of the waterfalls in the Bioworks Butterfly enclosure if you are not quite up to slogging through Back Woods wetlands.

Pink and fragrant climbing hempvine (Mikania scandens) are finishing up their show on the edges of all places moist.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Paw Paw Petals


Missing from our suite of species in the Back Woods is the Florida native dwarf paw paw, Asimina pygmea. Fortunately, they are found nearby on the westernmost undeveloped portion of the museum’s property. I captured a nice cluster of plants in bloom last week to share with our readers.

The flowers start out white then develop into a beautiful deep maroon color and are sometimes candy striped in between. The flowers are pendant along the stems developing at the leaf axis. The flowers are followed by an oblong edible yellowy green berry. Another common name for this species, gopher berry, may indicate that gopher tortoise make these an addition to their grassy diet. The larvae of Zebra Swallowtail butterfly feed on the foliage of many Asimina spp. as well.

Plans are to capture the fruit and seed of these plants to cultivate and transplant them to the flatwoods areas of the Back Woods. That is if the Med Flys don’t beat us to them ;-)


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Flora Bunda Indeed

Habenaria floribunda

The Habenaria floribunda are blooming up a storm in the Back Woods. We are seeing these lovelies in more locations than in previous years possibly due to some of the mechanical thinning (more light reaching the forest floor) we have done to control native and non native vines .

MapPic_Species799 Also known as the toothpetal false reinorchid or mignonette orchid (etymology: dainty and green), this Habenaria sp. is common throughout much of Florida.

Natives for Your Neighborhood has a nice description of the growing requirements of this native terrestrial orchid.

There are a few more photos from our highlight of this species last December