Only In Florida
Florida is host to
a variety of plants and wildlife. Most of which is native to our state as well
as a few others. We are, however, lucky enough to have a few of our own which we
do not share with anyone else. Unfortunately for some, we are destroying or have
destroyed their natural habitat.
The Dusky seaside
sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens)
made its home in the grassy marshes near Titusville. Between 1987 and 1990, it became extinct.
The Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus
maritimus mirabilis) is the only seaside sparrow in southern Florida.
It has the most restrictive range of any bird in North America.
Close to extinction, it now resides only in the Everglades National Park
and the Big Cypress Preserve. Listed
as a species of special concern, the Florida bog frog (Rana
okaloosae) is found only in boggy areas of Okaloosa County in the Florida
panhandle. Another endangered
species residing only in our state is the Lower Keys rabbit (Sylvilagus
palustris hefneri). A
subspecies of the Marsh rabbit, it is found only on a few islands in the lower
Florida Keys. It is the only rabbit
on the federally endangered species list.
Florida is home to
a variety of grapes. One in
particular, the Calusa grape (Vitis
shuttleworthii), grows nowhere else. It
is found in mixed woods, hammocks, low woods and pinelands in the central and
southern Florida. The alternate
leaves are generally heart shaped, brownish green on top and have dense white or
rust colored hairs on the undersides. The
edges can be either smooth or bluntly toothed.
Clusters of small flowers appear in spring. Summertime brings dark red to purplish black grapes.
We even have
wildflowers, herbs and pawpaws we can call our own.
Florida dandelion (Berlandiera
subacaulis) is a perennial herb about 20 inches tall.
The leaves are alternate, lobed and appear at the base of the hairy stem
flush with the ground. At the top of the stem, are daisy- like yellow flowers with
yellowish green centers. They are
found throughout the state in sandhills, pinelands and dry disturbed sites.
Goldenaster (Chrysopsis linearifolia) is a biennial herb up to three feet tall.
Leaves found along the stem are alternate and narrow.
The leaves at the base of the plant appear in a circular cluster around
the stem. The leaves are usually
absent when the yellow daisy-like flowers appear from September through
November. It is found mainly in
central Florida in scrubs, sandhills and other dry sites.
Goldenaster (Chrysopsis subulata) is a perennial wildflower that is about three feet tall. Leaves found at the base of the plant (as well as along the stem) are spoon shaped and often have long white hairs. The daisy-like yellow flowers appear from June until August. It is found in the central part of the state in pine flatwoods and disturbed sites. Continued on page 4.
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