Pink and White

Spring is coming and the Heath Family is out in flower.  Fetterbushes and their little upside down urn-shaped flowers are pretty in pink.

Fetterbush 1

The new fruit is starting to appear

Fetterbush 2

Coastalplain Staggerbushes are out in white.

Coastalplain Staggerbush 1

Looking up at the flowers shows a pollinators view – that is, if the pollinator had our type of vision.

Coastalplain Staggerbush 3

 There are 6 native species of Blueberry found in Florida.  You can find half of them on this trail and they are all in flower right now.  Darrow’s Blueberry flowers are found on a 4-foot high bush with little leaves.

Darrow's Blueberry 3

 Shiny Blueberry flowers are found on a short bush with little leaves.

Shiny Blueberry 1

Deerberry flowers have their anthers sticking out.

Deerberry 1

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

The Side Loop

There is a little side loop which contains a wonderful mix of interesting plants and fungi.  Southern Needleleafs airplants adorn the Oaks –

Southern Needleleaf and Spanish Moss 1

A Cardnal Airplant rests on a vine –

Cardinal Airplant

But don’t just look up – look down and see the Turkey Tails adorning the trunks of the Dahoon –

Turkey Tails 1c

A Turkey Tail and Southern Needleleaf living side by side –

Turkey Tails 1b

Look a little more and you will find Snow Fungus –

Snow Fungus 1b

Look down on the ground by the bench and you will see a mat of little green leaves –

Mitchella repens 1

It is Twinberry or Partridgeberry which is a member of the Coffee Family.  It produces pairs of dark red buds which become little white flowers 

Mitchella repens 2

Mitchella repens 3

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

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Ancient Ferns

Walking around the gate and heading down the trail –

The Start of 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).

 

Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon Sticks

 

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

 

Osmunda cinnamomea 2

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 leaf

 

Royal Fern Sori

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.