floridanativeplants

Resurrection Fern

Resurrection Fern – Pleopeltis polypodioides

The Plant that Rises from the Dead.

The Resurrection Fern, also known as. the Miracle fern lives on branches and trunks of trees. Live Oaks and Cypress Trees are their favorite hosts. They have been seen growing on rocks and on the sides of buildings. Resurrection Ferns are air ferns that attach themselves to a host plant or rock and will get moisture and food from the air and rain. They will also gather nutrients that collect on the outer part of their host. The fern does not steal any nutrients from its host and therefore will not harm the host.

Have you seen ferns that are curled up, brown, and appear to be dead? Simply add water and they miraculously uncurl and resurrect to a live, healthy, green fern.

Resurrection Ferns can lose up to 97% of their water content and still come back to life when water returns. In contrast, most plants can only lose 10% of their water content before their cells collapse and they die. Like all ferns, Resurrection Ferns reproduce from spores.

These ferns can be found from Florida to as far north as New York and as far west as Texas. They are so fascinating that in the late ’90s, NASA sent a Resurrection Fern on the space shuttle Discovery to watch it miraculously come to life in zero gravity.

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #ResurrectionFern #Fern

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Sea Oats

Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata) —

Sea Oats are an important species to coastal sand dunes. The dunes provide housing and food to a variety of wildlife. The Florida beach mouse is an endemic species isolated to coastal dunes. Roseate terns, least terns, loggerheads, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, and Black skimmers rely on dunes for nesting. Piping plovers and southeastern snowy plover spend the winter in Florida where they breed in coastal dunes. American oystercatchers feed on small invertebrates and breed on sand dunes (U.S. Fish and Wildlife).

Reconstruction of coastal dunes is a common method of fighting climate change. In an effort to determine if this approach was offering a benefit to vertebrates, a study was conducted between June 2015 and June 2016 to compare natural coastal dunes and reconstructed coastal dunes. After collecting 2537 photos, 33 species were recorded. Common species overlapped both natural and reconstructed dunes. Differences were a result of rare species that were isolated to one area. Overall, the two types of dunes attracted similar types and numbers of vertebrates (Martin et al 2018).

Sea oats may not be endangered but they are protected under Title XI Chapter 161 Section 242 of Florida Statute due to their ability to stabilize sand in coastal regions and protect coasts from erosion. Can you think of any beautiful spaces with sea oats?

References

Martin, Scott A., Rhett M. Rautsaw, M. Rebecca Bolt, Christopher L. Parkinson, and Richard A. Seigel. 2018. Estimating the response of wildlife communities to coastal dune construction. Vol. 161.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Beach Dune, Coastal Strand and Maritime Hammock. Multi-Species Recovery Plan for South Florida. 3:72-76

Photo credit: Aymee Laurain

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #seaoats #sanddune

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Flame Vine

The flame vine is native to Brazil. This beautiful vine with long orange tuber flowers has become a common accent to many gardens and has attracted pollinators including hummingbirds. However, the flame vine grows like wildfire and can become invasive rather quickly (University of Florida).

Indigenous people of Brazil used the plant to treat several conditions including skin irritations, diarrhea, coughing, respiratory infections, bronchitis, flu and cold. Research has found several pharmaceutical properties in the plant including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antinociceptive, wound healing properties, antimicrobial, reduction in cold and fever symptoms, treatment of menopause, and melanogenesis. These properties can be carefully extracted and refined to produce a number of medications (Mostafa, El-Dahshan, and Singab 2013).

References

Mostafa NM, El-Dahshan O, Singab ANB (2013) Pyrostegia venusta (Ker Gawl.) Miers: A Botanical, Pharmacological and Phytochemical Review. Med Aromat Plants 2:123. doi:10.4172/2167-0412.1000123

University of Florida. Flame Vine. Gardening solutions. Accessed June, 19,2019. http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/…/or…/flame-vine.html

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #pollinators #flamevine

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Buttonbush

Buttonbush

A Florida Native, buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) blooms in late spring and throughout the summer. The blossoms of the buttonbush shrub resemble a pincushion more than they resemble a button. The blooms are 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter and have a pleasant fragrance. They attract a variety of insects including butterflies, moths, bees, and wasps.

Buttonbush is an understory shrub and will grow 4-8 feet wide and can reach heights of 20 feet. They are commonly found in marshes, swamps, sloughs, and ponds and are used for nesting by many bird species. In the fall, the buttonbush will produce bright red fruits. Seeds are enjoyed by ducks, jays, cardinals, titmice, mockingbirds, and warblers.

Buttonbush is available at many native nurseries and will flourish in wetlands and on wetland edges.

Photo Credit: Aymee Laurain.
#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #buttonbush #floridanativeplants

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Wild Coffee

Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa) is a Florida native shrub that gets its name from the small, red fruit it produces. Other names are wood balsam, Seminole Balsamo, and café marron. It is extremely cold sensitive. If it freezes it resprouts in the spring producing a shorter plant.

Wild Coffee, grows as a dense, round, multi-stemmed shrub about 5 feet tall and spreads between 4 to 8 feet. You will see it in pinelands, shell ridges, coastal hammocks, and sandy shaded areas. Its leaves are glossy, puckered, waxy, and light green when in full sun. When in the shade the leaves are deep forest green. The leaves are 5 inches long with veins running through them. Small, white flowers bloom in spring and summer and produce a fragrance similar to the gardenia.

Many butterflies, including the Florida state butterfly, the zebra longwing, and the spicebush swallowtail drink nectar from the flowers of wild coffee. Honeybees visit the flowers and pollinate them. Bright red, half-inch berries appear, in late summer or fall, each with two seeds. These seeds are an important food source for cardinals, catbirds, mockingbirds and blue jays, as well as other birds. Wild coffee berries were once used as a coffee substitute even though they do not contain caffeine.

The shrub grows well in alkaline soil. It is not salt-tolerant, but germinates readily, has few pest problems, needs only varying amounts of water and is not invasive. Is also prevents soil erosion. With its contrasting green leaves and red berries, its fragrance when in bloom and its wildlife benefits, the Wild Coffee shrub will make a wonderful addition to a shady spot in your landscape.

Photo Credit: Mary Keim
https://www.flickr.com/photos/38514062@N03/6415497635…

#wildcoffee #ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #wildflower

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Ghost Orchid

The Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii,) is rare and endangered. There are only an estimated 2000 left in Florida. This orchid is prized for its long, white delicate petals. It is leafless and its roots attach to the host tree. The mass of green roots clings tightly to the trunks. It is distinguished from other species of orchid by the presence of thin white markings dotting its roots.

The Ghost Orchid gets its name from its ability to move at night. It appears as if it’s floating, like a ghost.

The Ghost Orchid is pollinated by the Giant Spinx Moth, whose long tongue can reach the nectar that is not accessible to many insects. The swamps of cypress, pond apple, and palm trees are its preferred environment. The orchids specific habitat requirements are high humidity, mild temperatures, and dappled shade.

The Ghost Orchid does not flower reliably. It will typically flower one to two weeks once a year. It requires a specific fungus (mycorrhizal) to be able to thrive. because it is leafless, the orchid relies on its roots to produce sugars from sunlight. The Ghost Orchid has a symbiotic relationship with the fungus as it gathers nutrients from it in exchange for extra sugars.

Habitat destruction and development, as well as over collecting, have been responsible for the decline of ghost orchid populations. The Ghost Orchid is a protected species in public land areas.

With gratitude to Jay Staton for his patience and perseverance in capturing this rare sight.
JAY STATON -Published on Oct 20, 2014
“A ghost orchid’s flower takes, on average, 2 days to fully open. This short video shows the remarkable beauty of the most sought-after orchid in the world, including background sound that gets you in the mood.”

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #GhostOrchid #orchid

https://youtu.be/USbPKZLFS14

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Sea Grape

Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera).

The Sea Grape thrives in Florida’s sandy soils. This plant tolerates windy conditions and can act as a windbreak. As well as being salt and drought tolerant, it will stabilize sand dunes while providing habitat for wildlife. This includes protection for nesting sea turtles from artificial light. Look for Sea Grapes in their natural habitat along the beach.

The Sea Grape has an unusual texture with big, round leaves which grow upright on the branches. The leaves are leathery and grow 8 to 10 inches with a reddish tint. They have red veining and some leaves will turn completely red. The female shrubs produce clusters of fruit that resemble grapes that will start out green, and ripen to purple. This plant needs a male and female to cross-pollinate and bear fruit. A Sea Grape plant with its outstretched branches will grow between 6 to 8 feet tall and wide.

The Sea Grape is a small native evergreen tropical tree which can grow as a shrub or be trained as a hedge and does best in full to partial sunlight. Although sensitive to frost, Sea Grape plants can be grown in your yard or garden. Be sure to water until established. Their fruit is very sweet and when ripe provides a tasty treat for people, birds, and squirrels. Jellies and wine are made from the Sea Grapes. Consider planting a Sea Grape Plant in your Florida Native Garden.

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