Resurrection Fern

8 Jul

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.

Resurrection fern

Resurrection fern - Polypodium polypodioides

Resurrection Fern - drying up and starting to shrivel

Tropical Puff

29 Jun

This yellow flowering sensitive plant was found growing along the roadside near Ozello, Florida.

The sprawling, low growing creeper has leaves that will curl up when touched. Very similar to the pink Mimosa microphylla, but with no thorns and yellow round flowers. A member of the pea family,  it is the larval host plant for the Ceraunus Blue butterfly.

Tropical Puff - Neptunia pubescens

Gulf Coast Swallow-wort

23 Jun

This was another plant found last week on the roadside near Ozello, Fl.  The Gulf Coast Swallow-wort is a native climbing milkweed. Clusters of small pale peachy colored flowers are along a twining vine with sparse slender leaves. More easily noticed because of the typical seed pods, and also as host plant for the Queen butterfly.

It prefers the brackish salty areas along the Florida coastal counties.

Gulf Coast Swallow-wort - Cynanchum angustifolium

White Seaside Gentian

21 Jun

Last June I posted about the Seaside Gentian, a beautiful lavender flower with a purple center. This June I’m posting it again in its white flower form! These were found growing on the salty roadside sand in large groups near Ozello, Fl, along with their purple flowering relatives. If you want to try growing these at home, you’ll most likely have some luck with another Seaside Gentian relative known as Lisianthus in garden centers throughout summer.

 

White Seaside Gentian - Eustoma exaltatum

Purple Seaside Gentian - Eustoma exaltatum

Coastal Rosegentian

7 Jun

These lovely pink flowers were found growing under the cypress trees along the Withlacoochee River. The flower color was hard to capture on camera. The pale pink flowers  seem a bit white in most of my photos due to the deep shade they were in.

These are small plants that grow 6 to 12 inches tall. They prefer wet soils in shady areas.

The flower in the first photo is a bit unusual in that it has a bright pink lining on the yellow starburst center. Maybe a different variety?

Coastal Rosegentian - Sabatia calycina

Coastal Rosegentian - Sabatia calycina

Florida Flame Azalea

31 May

This beautiful flowering shrub is considered endangered in its native Florida panhandle. Lucky for us though, it can be easily found at nurseries specializing in Florida natives. This photo was taken in north central Florida at a garden center (so it is possible this is a hybrid variety). It was heaven to be amid the thousands (millions?) of orange blossoms.

Florida Flame Azalea - Rhododendron austinum

 

 

Bastard False Indigo

24 May

This large flowering shrub can grow upwards of 10′ or more. It is leafless during the winter, then sprouts out with new leaves in spring. The purple spikes of flowers also appear in spring attracting many insects & butterflies. It normally grows in moist areas in the wild, but can adapt to home garden conditions. An added bonus – it is the host plant for both the southern dogface sulphur and the silver-spotted skipper butterflies.

Bastard False Indigo - Amorpha fruticosa