I haven’t spent much time on the trail lately because George Rogers and I have been working on an on-line plant course. But more about that later. First, a few images that caught my eye. Down at the dock the white mangroves are in flower.
Also there was the Saltmarsh Morning-Glory, a vine whose leaves remind me of a bird’s foot.
Orchids and Arums were coexisting in some muddy water.
And one of the tallest Carolina Redroots that I have seen is in flower.
Here’s a closer view of the head because I love the texture of the flowers. They look like they are coated with cotton.
Now, about the course:
Native Plants of South Florida
An Introductory On-Line Course by George Rogers and John Bradford
You’ll need our self-published book: Guide to the Native Plants of Florida’s Treasure Coast. To see the book, preview the class, open Lesson 1, and click a link to the book vendor. We make no money from the book—any revenue supports our web site.
Grab a field trip For each habitat type (most types span multiple lessons) you take a field trip on your own with camera in hand. We list suggested sites in our general area.
The class evolved in Palm Beach and Martin Students from anywhere are welcome.
There’s a quiz each lesson, and three Non-credit students use these as review exercises.
The mission is learning to recognize wild plants. There is no attention to gardening or landscaping (but see the book offered below).
To register or for more information: John Bradford (firstname.lastname@example.org) or George Rogers (email@example.com). After Aug. 18: George Rogers 561-207-5052
This on-line class is an open-enrollment public-access derivative of George Rogers’s “Plants of Florida Ecosystems” (ORH2511) taught on-line and in the field at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens. It is possible to take our on-line class for college credit, and it is possible to register for a credit-only field trip version of the class Fall Term 2015, perhaps after taking the free on-line class non-credit now.
This blog contains images of nature found in a wonderful part of the Savannas State Preserve known as the Halpatiokee Nature Trails. I hope that my images show some of the wonders of nature and will entice people to visit the Trail.
Saw Palmettos abound along the Trail. I love the twists and turns of the stems as they begin their flowering stage.
And soon the flowers begin to appear.
And then the fun begins as they are visited with all manner of insects. Wasps come to feast.
A beetle appears and joins in.
Bees are there in force.
And are then joined by a pair of love bugs.
It is like having a 3-ring circus right before your eyes.
I hit the Trail yesterday looking for some Green Arrow Arum spadix – the flowering part of the plant. Now, why I would be looking for this? Because the Treasure Coast Natives blog has wonderful post about how the fragrance of the spadix and it’s cover, the spathe, change over time in order to trigger certain responses from the fly which is the key to the plant species survival. Click on “Come Eat My Pollen . . . “ and the article will open in a separate tab.
The spadix is the white stalk which is surrounded by by the spathe.
Here is a shot showing a little fly which looks like the Elachiptera formosa referenced in the Treasure Coast Native post. (Rick, I hope my fly ID is correct)
While photographing the Arum, I spotted an orchid growing in the same wet soil. Toothpetal False Reinorchid is common throughout Florida but still makes a nice addition to the Trail.
As I was walking back to the car I came on a Bobcat who was kind enough to wait until I could get the camera and take a shot. After the Bobcat headed into the undergrowth I spotted a second Bobcat, but that one didn’t linger to get his/her portrait taken.
While walking the Trail it is hard to miss the rather large fern arising from the boots of the Cabbage Palm trees. Lift up the leaf and you will see the spores of the Golden Polypoidy arraigned in 2 rows next to the vein.
But you don’t have to lift the leaf as you can probably fine on on the ground
But be careful that you avoid the Poison Ivy climbing on the tree limbs
Or that you don’t get grabbed by the tendrils of the Smilax vine
But be most careful on this part of the Trail
For here lurks the shoe tree just waiting to reach out and grab your footwear.
As a photographer I always strive to make my images appear as realistic as possible. I process my pictures to reflect how the scene, plant, or fungi looked to my eye. But there are different ways to “look” at things and there is nothing wrong with looking at images using a little more artistic license.
In one of the blogs I follow the author talked about images incorporating the Orton effect. This style of image has a dreamy look where the lights in the image were even brighter and the focus was a little softer. The effect is named after Michael Orton the photographer who popularized it.
Here is the original view of the Climbing Aster
And here is the view with the Orton effect
The intent is to give some subtle and pleasing changes not create a radically different image.
Here is the original of the Green Arrow Arum
And here is the view with the Orton effect
Do you like the Orton look?
I like the effect. That is not to say I’m going to use this on all my images but I did want to try it on a few more. So I did and then put them into a slide show. As side shows always seemed to be helped with music, I used a tune by one of my favorite Florida folk singers who embraces environmental causes. Dale Crider wrote and sings this song about Marjorie Stoneman Douglas and her battle to save the Everglades.
Here is the link to slideshow. I hope you will enjoy the images and the song.
Since I haven’t done a blog posting in awhile I decided it was time to stroll down the Trail and take some pictures. I recently acquired a new smaller camera and a new small lens and I needed to test them out. See what you think.
Sunlight was illuminating the air plants that covered the Live Oak tree.
As I love the texture of the bark, I thought the oak was worth another look.
The Spanish Moss appeared to have a golden glow in the sunlight.
As did the Turkey Tails on the tree.
A half dozen species of wildflowers were blooming. Some of the Twinberrys, a member of the Coffee Family, were in flower.
Here is a Twinberry bud and, if you look along the right edge, you will see the twin red fruits looking like small match heads.
I was really pleased with the performance of the new camera and lens and was happy to get back on the Trail.
Add another plant species to the list, some Swamp Sunflowers are out in bloom. Big beautiful flowers that have really thin opposite leaves.
But what really grabbed my attention was the fungi starting to grow on the leaves of the Staggerbush. Back in April, I posted a picture of what I thought was a gall on a Staggerbush leaf.
Fortunately, Rick Walker spotted my blunder and thus I learned that it is actually a fungus causing the growth.
The pathogen belongs to the Exobasidiaceae, a family which consists of 5 genera and 56 species. The species have a wide distribution, especially in temperate parts of the world. They grow on the leaves of plants, especially those in the Ericaceae (Heath family). Generally one species of the fungi is associated with on species of plant which may be why they show up on the Staggerbush and not on Fetterbush.
If you look close you can see the little thread-like micorrhiza on the surface. So it was with some interest that I spotted this fungus starting to grow on the leaves of another Staggerbush. You can see the leaf with the fungi starting to surround it.
The threads of the micorrhiza remind me of a spider starting to weave a web.
This is the view from the other side of the leaf.
It’s always interesting to see some of the weird and interesting shapes we can find in trees. I’m amazed that this oak could survive the damage it sustained when the limb broke away.
The digital age has opened up a multitude of ways to present your images to the public. And many of the ways are free. The blog you are reading does not cost me a cent and enables me to share the images I see along The Trail.
Many image-storing sites are free or have a very low cost. For $30 a year I can store thousands of plant and fungi images on a site called Blue Melon. The images can easily be downloaded and used by anyone. They are stored in folders that are labeled with the scientific name of the plant of the plant or fungi family. If you want to take a look, the address is: http://www.bluemelon.com/poaceae/
If you are trying to identify a plant found in one of the conservation areas of Martin, Palm Beach, or St. Lucie Counties take a look at: http://tcplants.org This is actually 7 free sites linked together. The main site has a tutorial designed to guide you through the identification process.
My first exposure to Word Press was setting up a free site that enabled my friend and mentor George Rogers to share some of his fascinating botanical information and for me to post a few plant pictures. For anyone not aware of this blog, it is a great read. Here is the link: http://treasurecoastnatives.wordpress.com
George and I have a book entitled “Guide to the Native Plants of Florida’s Treasure Coast”. It is a self-published book from blurb. And is available with either a soft or hard cover. But a year or so ago they started offering the book as an eBook, in addition to the printed version. I use an iPad and find eBooks to be incredibly useful – quickly download and generally inexpensive. Here is a link to the Guide to the Native Plants of Florida’s Treasure Coast eBook: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/436414-guide-to-the-native-plants-of-florida-s-treasure-coast