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Daily Post Archive August 2008
8/13/2008 Coastal Plants of Florida
Mangrove species now in various stages of flower and fruit development
The seeds of the Florida coastal wetlands trees, collectively called mangroves, are all buoyant structures, maturing and falling during the late active phase of the hurricane season.
Red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle is currently in various of its reproductive stages from bud to fruiting to formation of seedlings with conspicuous radicles observed up to10" in length..
A shoot of black mangrove with characteristic silvery new leaves emerging is seen in the upper left corner of the photo at left.
Avicennia germinans, black mangrove., is beginning to fruit
Laguncularia racemosa, white mangrove is in late flowering stage.
8/11/2008 Coastal Plants of Florida
Better Days Along Whiskey Creek
John U. Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach is very much improved since the late 1960's when murder and intrigue surfaced in the murky waters of Whiskey Creek, a water feature then coursing through a spooky forest of erroneously planted Australian Pine (Casuarina ). It was impossible in those days to truly enjoy a picnic or run on the carpet of caltrops shed by the trees, originally sown on the man-made barrier island with the idea they would somehow hold the sand in place. Instead, as time passed, the unnaturally placed trees thrived under the unnatural conditions, crowding out and shading out the type of natural recruitment which would have led to the development of sand trapping dunes.
Now nature has triumphed once again, as a combination of the Federal Wetlands Protection Act and hurricanes propelled into reality the ultimate eradication of pest Casuarina in favor of nature's plan. Red mangrove glistens along the edge of the still whiskey-colored estuary, but it is a friendly fringe now, teeming with shorebirds, overall a happier and more fitting approach to enjoyment of the beach.
Spanish Bayonet and Weathered Australian Pine Wood
Though their origins have been swept under the rug for the most part, there have been numerous forestry mistakes in the State of Florida over the centuries which caused misery and loss to both the human population and ecosystems. Sometimes the wastes and by-products of undoing errors are re-marketed to the public with as little research as was put into the original bad decision. Yet, a relatively safe bet may be the use of dead, dried and weathered Casuarina ("Australian pine," though it is not a pine per se) for decorative driftwood, not as just another trendy mulch.
Post text and photos by Leigh Fulghumleigh@floridaplants.com