Friday, June 15, 2012

Pineland Scrub Blossoms In Summer

Beauty in the white sands of a pine flatwoods and scrub ecosystem may be hard to imagine. Unknowing visitors will see the dead foliage, broken snags, and thick, impenetrable vegetation as weedy, unkempt, and dangerous, but native wildlife and naturalists appreciate the value of Florida's oldest ecosystem's resources to provide food, cover, and nesting during the summertime.

These dry, upland habitats were once Florida's ancient coasts but now are home for endemic species, both wildlife and vegetation that thrive in harsh environments with seasonal rainfall (both drought and flooding), nutrient deficiencies, and frequent fires.

My photographs of native plants and wildflowers were shot in a Seminole County ten-acre residential community that leaves all but the homesite undeveloped. Click on the photographs for larger viewing. The various pictures show berries for bears, birds, deer, gopher tortoises, and raccoons, and host plants for butterflies and birds.

Tarflower,Bejaria racemosa, Saw palmetto, Serenoa repens, Sparkleberry, Vacciunium arboreum. Mother Nature's Smorgasbord for Florida wildlife.

Blackroot, Pterocaulon pycnostachyum, provides food for wild hogs.

Coastalplain St. Johns-wort, Hypericum brachyphyllum, host plant for insect pollinators, like bees, butterflies, and moths. These flowers are found in bogs, lakefronts, coasts, and ephermeral ponds.

Frogfruit, Phyla nodiflora, Lippia nodiflora, can also be seen growing in urban cement sidewalk cracks, residential lawns, and near water. Host plant for the White Peacock Butterfly, Anartia jatrophae, Common Buckeye Butterfly, Junonia coenia, Phaon Crescent Butterfly, Phyciodes phaon.

Rusty Lyonia, Lyonia ferruginea, popular with deer and insects.

Saw palmetto, Serenoa repens, provides food for migrating mammals and birds, and is the host plant for the Palmetto Skipper.

Shiny blueberry, Vaccinium myrsinites, food resource for mammals, including humans, birds.

Tarflower, Bejaria racemosa, nectar plant for pollinators.

Six foot tall Tarflower, Bejaria racemosa

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