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A palamedes swallowtail butterfly visiting a purple thistle flower along with an assortment of other pollinators.


Palamedes swallowtails are a large dark swallowtail butterfly found in flatwoods and hammocks throughout most of Florida except the keys. The range extends mainly throughout the southeastern coastal states from Texas to Virginia, less frequently into New Jersey and the lower midwest.
Also called the Laurel swallowtail, host plants include members of the Laurel family, with the red bay a favorite. These butterflies are the primary pollinator of the pine lily.
Adult butterflies are very dark brown, appearing black, with broken yellow bands or rows of spots on the wings, and usually a small yellow spot toward the front middle of the forewing. A narrow yellow line parallels the body on the underside of the hindwing.
Caterpillars start out brown and white with an eyespot on the thorax and an all-white rear end. Mature caterpillars are stout, green above and reddish below with a yellow line in between. A pair of eyespots and a pair of small orange spots are on the thorax with rows of tiny small blue spots on the abdomen of the caterpillar. The osmeterium is bright yellow.

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A low angled side view of an endangered sea rosemary plant with its first flowers.

Heliotropium gnaphalodes - SEA ROSEMARY

This is a rare plant of beach dunes and coastal thickets naturally occurring from Brevard County south along the eastern Florida coast into Monroe County, mainland and keys. The range of Heliotropium gnaphalodes extends into the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Sea rosemary grows into a medium-sized rounded shrub from 1 to 2 meters (3-6 ft.) in height. This highly drought tolerant plant can grow in direct salt wind, but does not like constant salt spray or long-term salt water flooding. The tiny white flowers turn lavender and form on one side of curled spikes and may occur all year but peak in the winter. Leaves are linear-spatulate and densely silky-tomemtose. The fruit is a black or brown drupe enclosed in a corky head about 0.6 cm (1/4 in.) long.
Heliotropium gnaphalodes is also known as Sea Lavender, a name it shares with a completely different plant, Limonium carolinianum of brackish marshes, salt flats, mangrove swamps and coastal strands.

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This was one af a pair of Florida sandhill cranes at Clearwater Lake in the Ocala National Forest one September day.

Antigone canadensis - SANDHILL CRANE

A large bird of open grasslands, meadows and wetlands, these cranes can sometimes be seen in residential areas and on roadsides.
Two subspecies of sandhill cranes are found in Florida. A population of about four to five thousand non-migratory Antigone canadensis - subspecies pratensis - live year round in Florida and south Georgia. These Florida sandhill cranes are state listed as threatened. A larger population of greater sandhill cranes spends winters in Florida and summers in the Great Lakes region. The two subspecies are indistinguishable from each other. Sandhill cranes were removed from the genus Grus in 2016. Other species of Antigone are found in Asia and Australia. Antigone is the name of Oedipus's daughter/half-sister in Greek mythology.
Sandhill cranes have gray bodies, red foreheads and white cheeks. They are up to four feet tall with a wingspan of over six feet. Males and females are similar to each other, with the males being slightly larger. Mated pairs remain together year-round.

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A whorl of endangered, Florida endemic wildflowers of scrub habitats in the eastern Florida peninsula from Volusia County into Miami-Dade County.

Conradina grandiflora - LARGEFLOWER FALSE ROSEMARY

Conradina grandiflora lives up to its specific name with the largest flowers of the genus. The flowers of this small shrub are two-lipped and white, pale pink or lavender with darker lavender spots. The upper lip is erect with four stamens on the underside. Both the calyx and corolla throat are hairy. The leaves are made up of opposite clusters of narrowly spatulate, nearly linear blades with revolute margins.
This species was first collected by John Kunkel Small in April of 1924 near Sebastian, Florida.

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In the coastal areas of Florida can be seen marsh rabbits, always near water, usually fresh or brackish, and as can be seen here, along the ocean beach dunes.

Sylvilagus palustris - MARSH RABBIT

These rabbits are found near freshwater marshes and estuarine areas throughout most of Florida. They range through the coastal plain from the Florida panhandle to southeastern Virginia.
These medium sized rabbits are dark brown to reddish brown with a dark belly. The head and tail of marsh rabbits are smaller than eastern cottontail rabbits. Sylvilagus palustris have short rounded ears and small feet with long toenails on the hind feet. Males and females appear similar.
The marsh rabbit is primarily nocturnal, although it can often be seen while foraging in the morning or early evening.

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This rare wildflower is a member of the mustard family and is found Only in Florida. Warea amplexifolia is listed as endangered by both the U.S. and Florida.

Warea amplexifolia - CLASPING WAREA

Clasping warea occurs in the sandhills of central Florida from Marion to Polk & Osceola Counties.
Also called wideleaf pinelandcress, the flowers form in crowded terminal clusters somewhat globular shaped that mature from the bottom up, with whitish corollas, turning rose-purple on long pedicels. The individual flowers are about a half inch across with four paddle-shaped petals and six long stamens. The fruit is a thin pod 7-8cm (~3 in.) long called a silique and the leaves are heart-shaped and clasp the stem.
The species was originally collected somewhere in east Florida by Nathaniel A. Ware, Thomas Nuttall at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia originally named this plant Stanleya amplexifolia in 1822. Later, in 1834 Nuttall reconsidered it as a separate genus which he named after the collector.

Clasping Warea by Paul Rebmann Clasping Warea Flowers by Paul Rebmann