Previous Features

CUT-LEAVED EVENING PRIMROSE

Oenothera laciniata is probably the most prevalent of the genus and is widely considered a weed of lawns, golf courses & agriculture. The yellow flowers open around dusk and stay open all night, making evening primrose an attractive plant for moths.
 

SPIDERWORT

Also known as BLUEJACKET, Tradescantia ohienis is one of the common blue to violet flowers along Florida roadsides in the spring. The genus was named after John (the older) Tradescant, an English royal gardener who received plants and seeds from the American colonies in the early 1600's. Although the elder Tradescant travelled throughout Europe & Russia, it was his son, John Tradescant (the younger) who visited Virginia three times during the 17th century to continue the family's study of American botany.
 

PURPLE PASSIONFLOWER

This distinctive flower is also known as MAYPOP, one of the more common native species in this family. A favorite larval food of the Gulf fritillary, julia and zebra butterflies, exotic and cultivated hybrid species of passionflowers can also be found in Florida.
 

NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE

On groundhog day this whale was spotted heading north off the coast of Volusia County, Florida - a sign that winter is drawing to a close. Eubalaena glacialis females give birth in the winter off the coasts of Georgia and Florida. Then in the spring they rejoin the male northern right whales - who go somewhere else in the winter - near Cape Cod and then on to the summer spawning grounds in Canada's Bay of Fundy and the nearby Scotian Shelf. Some individuals are not found in these groups and are believed to return to the historic whaling grounds off the coasts of Greenland and Iceland and have been known to travel as far as Norway before returning to North American waters.
 

LITTLE BLUE HERON

Although this wading bird can be found in wetlands thoughout the Gulf and Atlantic coastal states, Egretta caerulea is listed as a Florida Species of Special Concern (SSC) due to wetlands loss and possible competition with cattle egrets for nesting sites. Little Blue Herons have a commensal relationship with White Ibises. The ibises stir up food as they walk, increasing the number of prey available to the Little Blue Herons.
 

CATESBY'S LILY

This distinctive Florida native is named after 18th century English naturalist Mark Catesby who travelled to the Carolinas and the Bahamas in the 1720's. Although he apparently never actually visited present day Florida, Catesby published Natural history of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, a two volume collection of his paintings of the flora & fauna he found. Lilium catesbaei is a threatened species in Florida.
 

GROUNDSEL TREE or SEA MYRTLE

In fall the GROUNDSEL TREE goes to seed creating showy white-capped bushes along roadsides throughout much of Florida. Ironically, this Florida native is an invasive plant in Australia. Introduced to the island continent as an ornamental, it can displace the Melaleuca tree (Melaleuca quinquenervia - a problem invasive in Florida) in its native habitat.
 

FLORIDA BUTTERFLY ORCHID

One of the few epiphytic orchids occurring outside of the southern tip of the state, the FLORIDA BUTTERFLY ORCHID is found growing on palms and other trees throughout much of the central and southern peninsula.
 

ETONIA FALSE ROSEMARY

This rare plant is only found in Putnam County, Florida. Previously known to exist in a only a few locations within or near the Etonia state forest - where this photo was taken - it has recently been discovered on state property east of the St. John's River.
 

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