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.
I almost missed spotting this Black Racer who was warming up after a cool evening.
Down by the dock in the water I found a tiny little white flower with the name Pineland Pimpernel.
But something that really caught my eye was a pair of invasive species that were next to each other. Peruvian Primrosewillow popped up 3 or 4 articles ago and I bring it up again because you will find it happily co-existing with another highly invasive species, the Old World Climbing Fern.
Here is a closer shot of the fern’s leaves. Note that some of the edges are smooth and some are deeply lobed.
If the leaf is deeply lobed it is loaded with spores and here is a shot of the spores lining the edges of the lobes giving them a quilted look.
Walking around the gate and heading down the trail –
The Start of the Trail
Nature provides a wealth of visual stimulation and one of the first thing that catches my eye are the “cinnamon sticks” of the cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnmomea).
Next time you see this fern take a close look at the cinnamon stick. What you see are the casings housing the spores (sori). You will see little round cases that have a slit opening across the top. One side of the casing contracts as it dries which the case to split and the spores to be ejected
Cinnamon Fern Sori
Osmunda ferns date back over 200 million years and were around when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Further down the trail another Osmunda caught my eye. This time it was the royal fern (Osmunda regalis). The leafs are a different shape and a little daintier but the sorin casings look very similar.
Royal fern leaf
Royal Fern Sori
That’s all for now – but standby for future postings. If anyone has pictures or words about the flora or fauna found on the Halpatiokee Trail contact me so we can get you published.