Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tosohatchee WMA, June 26, 2011

My wife and I revisited Tosohatchee one week after the previous visit (June 19). We had expected the swamp rosemallow thickets to be in full bloom, displaying a panorama of large, pink blossoms. That was not the case; we saw only a few of the swamp rosemallows in bloom, maybe several dozen. Perhaps in another two weeks they'll be at their peak. About half of the 24 plants depicted in this 3-part post are plants that we saw and photographed during last week's visit. The additional ones are zarzabacoa comun, American beautyberry, whitemouth dayflower, showy milkwort, Florida sensitive brier, pinebarren frostweed, Nuttall's thistle, Nuttall's meadowbeauty, smallfruit beggarticks, lantana, and cottonweed.

The plants depicted in Part 1 were found mainly on the north side of Beehead Rd.
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Zarzabacoa comun (Desmodium incanum, Fabaceae)
Not native

This is one of the most common plants that produce the little hairy beggarticks that break off and stick to your pants legs. You can see them at the top of the photo on the left.

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Pale meadowbeauty; Maryland meadowbeauty (Rhexia mariana, Melastomataceae)
Native

This was one of the most abundant wildflowers in the open woods along Beehead Rd and St. Nicholas Rd.
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Sandweed; peelbark St.John's-wort (Hypericum fasciculatum, Clusiaceae)
Native
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American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana, Lamiaceae)
Native
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Blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum, Asteraceae)
Native
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Seaside primrosewillow (Ludwigia maritima, Onagraceae)
Native
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Fourpetal St.John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapetalum, Clusiaceae)
Native

A flower spider was lying in wait on one of the blossoms (right-hand photo). I wonder if the spider knows he casting a tell-tale shadow? Will his prey notice the menacing shadow?
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Whitemouth dayflower (Commelina erecta, Commelinaceae)
Native
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Showy milkwort (Polygala violacea, Polygalaceae)
Native
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Plants depicted in Part 2 were found in the open areas on the south side of Beehead Rd and both sides of St. Nicholas Rd.
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Florida sensitive brier (Mimosa quadrivalvis var. floridana, Fabaceae)
Native

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Florida false sunflower (Phoebanthus grandiflorus, Asteraceae)
Native, Florida endemic

Last week we found only one Phoebanthus in Tosohatchee. On this visit, we found two more. This one was located on the south side of Beehead Rd about 0.9 miles from the entrance kiosk, and on the road side of the ditch. The second one we found was less than 0.1 miles further on Beehead Rd. It was on the far side of a wet ditch, so I didn't get any close photos of it. (Upper-left photo by Julie.)
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Pinebarren frostweed; rock-rose (Helianthemun corymbosum, Cistaceae)
Native

Some key characteristics from W.K. Taylor: Petals 5, flowers in dense, terminal cymes, sepals 5, stamens many and orange. Leaves alternate, hairy, silvery-green below. Stem erect, spreading, hairy, to 8 in. tall.

The many orange stamens quickly separate this species from a similar small, 5-petaled, yellow flower—pitted stripeseed (Piriqueta). 
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Nuttall's thistle (Cirsium nuttallii, Asteraceae)
Native

Heads lack a whorl of spiny, bractlike leaves.
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Nuttall's meadowbeauty (Rhexia muttallii, Melastomataceae)
Native

Some key characteristics from W.K. Taylor: Petals 4, with gland-tipped hairs. Sepals 4, triangular. Stamens 8, anthers nearly straight. Floral tube with gland-tipped hairs. Capsule urn-shaped, smooth. Leaves opposite, ovate, 3-veined, smooth, margins with glands. Found in low, sandy pinelands. Stem square, smooth, unbranched. Stem and lower surface of leaves often lavender.
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Orange milkwort (Polygala lutea, Polygalaceae)
Native

I found lot of orange milkwort in the open pineland on the west side of St. Nicholas Rd.
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Savannah false pimpernel (Lindernia grandiflora, Plantaginaceae)
Native
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Largeflower rosegentian (Sabatia grandiflora, Gentianaceae)
Native
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Rose-rush (Lygodesmia aphylla, Asteraceae)
Native
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Part 3 depicts plants found along Powerline Rd, mostly on south side.
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Smallfruit beggarticks (Bidens mitis, Asteraceae)
Native

This species often occurs in large numbers (as in Wickham Park), but in this case there were only two plants together. Perhaps they will become more plentiful later in the year.

In the last photo, I happened to have captured a prime example of mutualism: an association between organisms of two different species in which each member benefits. The two species in this case are honey ants and aphids. The ants feed on the sugary honeydew expelled by the aphids. In exchange, the ants protect the aphids from predators and parasites. The ant "farmers" are harsh, though: they bite off the wings of the aphids to prevent any of their "cows" turning maverick and flying off to greener pastures!
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Lantana (Lantana camara, Verbenaceae)
Not native
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Yellow colicroot (Aletris lutea, Nartheceaceae)
Native

This colicroot had turned to seed. The distinctive rolled-edge, yellow-green basal leaves are shown here. I believe the surrounding clumps of large basal leaves are tall elephantsfoot (Elephantopus elatus).
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Wood sage; Canadian germander (Teucrium canadense, Lamiaceae)
Native
Key characterisitcs from W.K. Taylor: Stamens 4, arched upwards. Leaves opposite, toothed, stalked, elliptic or lanceolate, lower surface paler than upper. Found in wet thickets, hammocks. Stem square, leafy, hairy, to 3-ft tall, or more.
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Swamp rosemallow (Hibiscus grandiflorus, Malvaceae)
Native

We had expected to find lots of swamp rosemallow in bloom; however, there weren't many more blooms than during our previous visit a week ago. Maybe they'll be at their peak in two more weeks.
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Alligator


This medium-size gator appeared to be in possession of a hole in a mud bank.
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Cottonweed; plains snakecotton (Froelichia floridana, Amaranthaceae)
Native

On the way home from Tosohatchee, we stopped to photograph this stand of cottonweed growing along the edge of a pasture, about 0.1 mi. south of the Tosohatchee entrance on Taylor Creek Rd.
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