Another Look at the Staggerbush Fungi

Add another plant species to the list, some Swamp Sunflowers are out in bloom.  Big beautiful flowers that have really thin opposite leaves.

Helianthus angustifolius 1

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.

Gall Wasp 2

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.

Staggerbush Fungi 7

The threads of the micorrhiza remind me of a spider starting to weave a web.

Staggerbush Fungi 6

This is the view from the other side of the leaf.

Staggerbush Fungi 5

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.

Oak 2

A Trail To The River Images in an eBook

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/

Image 1

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.

Image 2

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

Image 3

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

Image 4

Looking through the images I’ve taken for the A Trail To The River Blog, I decided to put a number of the images into an eBook and offer it as a free download.   Here is the link:  http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/442716-a-trail-to-the-river

Image 5

  

Wax Myrtle Fruit and Other Things That Caught My Eye

I noticed that a stalk of the Cinnamon Fern had taken a sharp turn upward.  Had someone bent it and the plant kept growing or had the fern suddenly decided to grow vertically rather than horizontally?

Cinnamon Fern

Fruit is starting to appear on the Wax Myrtle branches

Wax Myrtle 1

 

A closer look at the fruit clearly shows the waxy covering

Wax Myrtle  2

 

Spotted some Feay’s Palafox and took a shot from a different perspective.

Feay's Palafox

 

As I walked down the side trail I encountered a tree just covered with Turkey Tails.  The Tails at the base of the tree were wide and large.

Turkey Tails 1

 

The tails further up the trunk were smaller and thinner.

Turkey Tails 2

 

This part of the trail has a nice inviting bench.  So I rested my camera bag and took a shot.

Trail 10

A Fungus Among Us

As I wander the Trail I always look to see what is flowering and, near one of the wooden walkways, I noticed that the Climbing Hempvine is starting to open up.  It’s in the Aster or Daisy family and its flowers are all disk flowers just like Feay’s Palafox.

Climbing Hempvine

 

A Hog Plum had dropped it’s colorful fruit on the trail.   I’m surprised that it hasn’t been gobbled up by an animal or bird.

Hog Plum Fruit

 

The weather has been wet so fungi are appearing.  I spotted this one near a tree root which crossed the Trail.

 Boletus 1

 

When I turned the mushroom over I saw the sponge layer of tubes which meant that it was some species of Boletes.

 Boletus 2

 

I broke off a little piece at the edge to give a little picture of the tubes where the spores are produced.

 Boletus 3

 

Further down the trail I came on an old mushroom that was covered with a cottony mold.  Everything is the host of another organism.

 Cotton Mold

 

 That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.

Zigzagging Down The Trail

In my visits to The Trail I rarely encounter another person and, for the most part, that is fine as I often spread out my photo gear out while trying to capture an image.  But as I strolled the Trail today I noticed how the vines and Palmetto fronds were starting to encroach and narrow the trail.  I guess there aren’t many people willing to brave a little mud and heat to see the wonders found along the Trail.

 Trail 6

In South Florida few trees have leaves that change color.  But one tree that does is the Red Maple and it’s leaves grabbed my attention.

 Red Maple 1

I found some paper wasps building a home under a Palmetto frond.

 Paper Wasp 2

Some little carnivorous plants, Zigzag Bladderworts, are coming to life.

 Zigzag Bladderwort 3

Down at the river, the lovely Saltmarsh Morning Glory was blooming.

 Saltmarsh Morning Glory 2

I missed the flowering of the Florida Butterfly Orchid but here is a shot of the seed pods.  When these open in a few months, the wind will blow the seeds far and wide and their life cycle will continue.

Florida Butterfly Orchid 3

That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.

Ferns and Oaks

Lining the banks of the river are the leaves of the Giant Leather Fern.

Giant Leather Fern 1

 

Here’s a closer look at the spores which cover the underside of the leaves.

Giant Leather Fern 2

 

Look up and you will see another fern, Golden Polyploidy, hanging from the limb of an Oak tree.

Golden polypody

 

An Oak also provides a home for the Southern Needleleaf air plants.

Southern Needleleaf 1

 

And finally, for a bit of color, here is the flower of the Sensitive Briar vine.

Sensitive Briar 2

 

If you are tempted to reach out and grab the flower, better think twice.  Here is a closer look at the sharp bristles along the stalk.

Sensitive Briar 3

 

That’s all for now – but standby for future postings. 

Interesting fruit

Slash Pines are wonderful native trees – the wood is strong and the texture of the bark has a great appearance.  In addition, sometimes the trunk will curve into unusual shapes.

Slash Pine 2

I only spotted one wildflower in bloom.  Nuttall’s Meadowbeauty is a lovely little purple flower that was laying low to the ground.

Nuttall's Meadowbeauty

However, a lot of  flowers, shrubs, and trees are starting to bear fruit.

Myrtle Oak 1

That was the start of  the acorns on a Myrtle Oak.  Here is an image of the acorns that are a little older.

Myrtle Oak 2

Do you remember the Tarflower?  The petals have a sticky feel.

Tar Flower 2

Here is a shot of the Tarflower’s fruit.  You can see a bead of sap rolling down the stem.

Tar Flower 3

And here is a close up shot of the fruit where the sap provided a sticky shiny covering.  It reminds me of the candy apples I ate at Halloween.

Tar Flower 4

That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.