Monday, December 26, 2011

Coat Buttons

Coat Buttons (Tridax procumbens) is a daisy-like weedy flower that is not native to Florida. This invasive wildflower spreads readily by wind-dispersed seeds and can take hold in unusual spots with little soil. This flower was recently observed growing and blooming among the gravel on the roof of the main MOSI building, just outside the glass stairway to the top of the IMAX dome. 

The genus name, Tridax, means three-toothed and refers to the tooth like ending points of the flower petals. Although considered a pest, this flower is often visited by butterflies in the winter when other nectar sources have become scarce. This patch of Coat Buttons was found among the grass around a retention pond on the east side of the Backwoods Forest Preserve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Caeser’s Weed

Caeser’s Weed (Urena lobata) is an erect and weedy invasive shrub that can often be found in disturbed sites of south Florida. Here in the Backwoods Forest Preserve we sometimes find this weed growing in open and sunny spots on the edge of the woodland or in the open grassy area near the sinkhole.

The fruits of this plant spread seeds readily especially with the help of humans and animals. The outside of the fruit has bristly hook-ended hairs that cling to hair, fur and clothing very readily. Please take care to avoid the seeds so that you don’t help to spread this invasive species.

Learn more about this invasive species at the IFAS website.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Florida Tasselflower

Florida Tasselflower (Emilia fosbergii) is a diminutive weedy wildflower. Native to the Old World, this readily seeding wildflower has naturalized in Florida and other southern states often traveling through the ornamental landscape trade.

On warm days, look for a variety of small insects taking nectar and pollen from these flowers. Bees and even butterflies can be observed visiting the tassel-like flowers.

These pinky purple beauties were found blooming near a retention pond at the east side of the Backwoods Forest Preserve.

Monday, December 12, 2011


DSCN0016Paintedleaf (Euphorbia cyathophora) is also known as Wild Poinsettia. This plant has a milky sap that can irritate skin and should be handled with care. Each fall and winter the center of the leaves blaze with a brilliant red color that makes this plant easy to pick out in the forest.

Read more about this species at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Coastal Jointweed

Blooming in the sandhill, this lovely and dainty wildflower is commonly known as Coastal or Sand Jointweed (Polygonella articulata). The white flowers are tiny and bloom at the ends of thin branches. Read more about this species at Connecticut Botanical Society.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sandhill Wireweed

The sandy uplands of the Back Woods Forest Preserve are abloom with Sandhill Wireweed and other Florida native wildflowers.

Sandhill Wireweed (Polygonella robusta) is a lovely fall-blooming wildflower that starts snowy white and takes on a pinkish hue as the flowers fully open. Read more about this plant over at Florida Native Wildflowers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wetlands Portrait


A quick snapshot of the wetlands on a cloudy day as viewed from the edge of a retention pond. This photo was taken in color and no alterations have been made to the image. It seemed lonely and a little haunting on a still day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Autumn Walk in the Backwoods

Temperatures are down in the Backwoods here at MOSI, but the mosquitoes are just as active as ever! Fully covered in bug spray, we set off to see what was going on in the Backwoods on a recent still and humid morning, and found lots of fall wildflowers in bloom. Some we know, like the Narrowleaf Silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia), Hammock Snakeroot (Ageratina jucunda), and Paintedleaf (Euphorbia cyathophora). Others we’re still working to identify. Click through the albums below, and if you can offer us an ID on any of the pictures, please let us know!

Jill’s Album:

Kristen’s Album: