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Author Topic: Ready for Spring  (Read 3862 times)
Rich
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« on: February 01, 2009, 10:40:22 PM »

I recently had the good fortune to travel down to Miami for work.  Took a couple of extra days while there and wandered amongst the Everglades and Big Cypress.  The birds were spectacular and there was enough blooming to make me really eager for spring.  The blooming list from my quick visit includes (Sadly, not all native; Nomenclature follows Wunderlin) :
Thickleaf wild petunia (Ruellia succulenta), climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum), jack-in-the-bush (Chromlaena odorata), glades lobelia (Lobelia glandulosa), narrowleaf blue-eyed grass (Sisyrhinchium angustifolium), bluehearts (Buchnera americana), blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicessis), blazing star (Liatris spicata), Florida ironweed (Vernonia blodgettii), marsh fleabane (Pluchea rosea), showy milkwort (Polygala grandiflora), false foxglove (Agalinis fasciculata), airplants (Tillandsia balbisiana and T. fasciculata), firebush (Hamelia patens), sea oxeye (Borrichia frutescens), Everglades daisy (Helenium pinnatifidum), tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii), wand goldenrod (Solidago stricta), pineland heliotrope (Heliotropium polyphyllum), pineland acacia (Acacia pinetorum), Bahama senna (Senna mexicana), horned bladderwort (Utricularia cornuta), groundcherry (Physalis walteri), Florida peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia), string-lily (Crinum americanum), Ceylon swamplily (Crinum zeylanicum), arrowheads (Sagittaria graminea and S. lancifolia),  water dropwort (Oxypolis filiformis), , longleaf milkweed (Asclepias longifolia), Spanish needles (Bidens alba var radiata), Everglades squarestem (Melanthera parviflora), moonflower (Ipomea alba), pineland jacquemontia (Jacquemontia curtisii), southern colicroot (Aletris bracteata), floating hearts (Nymphoides aquatica), Boykin's Milkwort (Polygala boykinii). mullein nightshade (Solanum domianum), and fivefingers (Syngonium angustatum). It was an excellent mid-winter floral excursion.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 10:12:43 PM by Rich » Logged

Rich Reaves
Scott
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 09:20:57 AM »

Rich:

Thanks for you report, I haven't been to south Florida in well over a decade an it makes me want to go back!

One question: When you botanize in an area with an entirely different flora that your "home" turf, what mental tricks do you use to remember all the new stuff? We spent many spring breaks at Key Largo and wandering the keys I found that I had to limit myself to about ten new plants per trip to sear them into my brain. So many are in families that only occur in the US there!

Scott
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Rich
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 07:43:18 PM »

I go with a couple of things.  For this trip, I reviewed the pictures Anita and I took when we were down in winter a few years back plus pictures I have taken while working in Florida and Puerto Rico through the years.  That helps quite a bit when you have a previous reference point to work from,  However, this time a lot of what was blooming when we were there before was not blooming.  The chance of going in winter - some things will always bloom that time and others will be opportunistic and there is no way to plan on opportunistic.  Along with that, I thumbed through my field guides, Roger Hammer's Everglades Wildflowers and Florida keys Wildflowers, which also made the trip with me along with Gil Nelson's The Ferns of Florida and Wunderlin's Guide to the Vascular Flora of Florida.

Beyond that, I have to do some memory searching.  Having spent a few years on the MS Gulf Coast, there is a chunk of plants that I used to know that extend down to south Florida, and I trust the memory to bring much of that back. Sadly, that seems to work better with plants I learned while living out west than plants I learned while living down on the coast, but it helps.  Then, I do a lot of book digging while there, as any good BotSoccer would do.  I was lucky on this trip in that I did not have many new families on this trip or even many weird families - much of my list would at least be passingly familiar to many BotSoccers at least at the family level. As with anything else, being able to recognize families and genera is a big help in reducing the book digging. 

I think the fact that I have spent extended periods in really different ecological areas and that I try to get to at least a couple of places each year that are outside my "botanical comfort zone" helps to keep the synapses functioning. 


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Rich Reaves
Richard
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 01:29:32 PM »

Very impressive Rich! I might have recognized most of the genera on your list but most of the species are different from what we have here in north Georgia.

This is the type of thing I enjoy reading on this forum and I usually check almost every day for new posts. I really enjoy reading plant lists from anywhere in the U.S. Unfortunately, I don't have time to post much myself, I'll try to do better in the future. This is a useful tool that very few people are using.

Richard

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Rich
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2009, 10:12:24 PM »

I got fortunate on the vagaries of winter blooming on one plant.  The fivefingers was one I had seen on previous trips but had never managed to see it in bloom.  It looks like any mundane tropical invasive vine vegetatively.  This time it was blooming and there was no mistaking that it was in the arum family.  I was able to ID it with the flower as teh tropical invasive vine that it is.
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Rich Reaves
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2009, 12:58:00 AM »

Great report, Rich, thanks!  I was just transcribing my field notes from Oaky Woods, where we had Boykin's milkwort, Polygala boykinii, flowering in June.  Amazing to see all those plants on your list that bloom for us 5 or 6 months later! 

Hal
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Rich
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2009, 10:30:11 AM »

I think there are 4 disting groups of plants that you may find blooming down there in winter:

1) those that always bloom at that time of year - either only tehn or they are always blooming.

2) a semi-subset of the above - plants that bloom either just past their bloom time or just before their bloom time.

3) the hit or miss ones - they can bloom if water and temperature are right - there is always a good deal of variability in what you encounter. You always find something that only blooms in the summer (according to the local books) but it is blazing away in January.

4) a fire-response subset of Number 3 - plants that do not normally bloom in winter, but a very recent burn triggers growth and blooming "at the wrong time". I would love to be back down there now. There was a huge burn along the roadway (about 2 miles long ) that was just showing regreening when I was there and it would be fun to poke around in that area now.
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Rich Reaves
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