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.

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

  

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.