Cardinal Flower is a Florida native plant that thrives in wet areas. If you canoe or kayak along the Wekiva, Withlacoochee or any of our other wild waterways during the summer, you’ll likely see this bright red flower along the shore. The flowers are so nice, that it has become a popular nursery plant, so you can easily purchase plants on-line to try them in your own garden. Just be sure to pick a moist shady area. It is a great hummingbird attractor too!
Ball Moss is most commonly found growing on Live Oak trees in Central and South Florida. If you see a fuzzy grey ball growing on a tree – it is most likely Ball Moss. But it is not an actual moss – it is a true flowering plant, related to pineapple, Spanish moss, and other bromeliads. An epiphyte, meaning it does not take nutrients or water from its host, it causes no harm to the tree. It gets nutrients from the atmosphere and rain. During spring and summer it produces lovely tiny purple flowers. A brown seed pod follows.
The Golden Polypody is also known as the Cabbage Palm Fern, since that is where you’ll most likely see this plant growing throughout Florida.
It is an epiphytic fern with large arching 2′ fronds which sprout out from a rhizome attached to the palm. The rhizomes are brown and hairy resembling a rabbit’s foot.
Resurrection Fern is a small fern that grows on the branches of Live oaks & large Cypress trees. It is an epiphyte, meaning that it takes nutrients from the air and water that collects on the tree. It does not feed on the tree itself.
During dry weather the Resurrection fern is brown, shriveled and dead looking. But once the rain comes it “resurrects” or comes back to life and its brown fronds unfold to green. After a few days without rain, it shrivels once again.
These photos were taken right outside my front door of a cluster of Resurrection fern growing on a Live oak tree.