Back on the Trail

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.

Dock 2

 

Also there was the Saltmarsh Morning-Glory, a vine whose leaves remind me of a bird’s foot.

Saltmarsh Morning-Glory

 

Orchids and Arums were coexisting in some muddy water.

Orchid and Arums

 

 

And one of the tallest Carolina Redroots that I have seen is in flower.

Carolina Redroot 1

 

 

Here’s a closer view of the head because I love the texture of the flowers.  They look like they are coated with cotton.

Carolina Redroot 3

 

 

Now, about the course:

Native Plants of South Florida

An Introductory On-Line Course by George Rogers and John Bradford

Open Enrollment! Any tree hugger can join in!

Free! (except for book purchase)

Register now.  Begins Sept 1 2014

  • 16 habitat-based lessons. View the course at  http://nativeplantclass.weebly.com
  • 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 (cyclura@bellsouth.net) or George Rogers (rogersg515@gmail.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.

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Pleasant Surprises

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.

Green Arrow Arum 1

 

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)

Green Arrow Arum 2

 

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.

Toothpetal False Reinorchid

 

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.

Bobcat

Palms and Ferns

Somebody made the Trail a little more passable.  Saw Palmetto branches were cut back and laid on some of the muddy places.

Trail 13

 

One of the walkways has a new sign.

Trail 12

 

I missed getting a shot of a Ground Skink as it was just too fast.  But I did get a shot of this anole although he was doing his best to hide on the bark of a Slash Pine tree.

Anole

 

String Ferns were hanging from their home on this Saw Palmetto.

String Fern 1

 

And down by the Creek I found a couple of fiddleheads of the Giant Leather Fern.

Giant Leather Fern Fiddlehead 1

 

Here is a closer view of the fiddlehead – the patterns in Nature never fail to amaze me.

Giant Leather Fern Fiddlehead 2

The Shoe Tree

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.

Golden Polypody 1

 

But you don’t have to lift the leaf as you can probably fine on on the ground

Golden Polypody 2

 

But be careful that you avoid the Poison Ivy climbing on the tree limbs

Poison Ivy 1

 

Or that you don’t get grabbed by the tendrils of the Smilax vine

Smilax 7

 

But be most careful on this part of the Trail

Trail 11

 

For here lurks the shoe tree just waiting to reach out and grab your footwear.

Oak Shoe

Back on the Trail Again

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.

Live Oak 2

 

As I love the texture of the bark, I thought the oak was worth another look.

Live Oak 1 (HDR)

 

The Spanish Moss appeared to have a golden glow in the sunlight.

Spanish Moss 3

 

As did the Turkey Tails on the tree.

Turkey Tails 3

 

A half dozen species of wildflowers were blooming.  Some of the Twinberrys, a member of the Coffee Family, were in flower.

Twinberry 7

 

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.

Twinberry 8

 

I was really pleased with the performance of the new camera and lens and was happy to get back on the Trail.

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