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.
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
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.
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.
I found some paper wasps building a home under a Palmetto frond.
Some little carnivorous plants, Zigzag Bladderworts, are coming to life.
Down at the river, the lovely Saltmarsh Morning Glory was blooming.
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.
That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.