Floridian Nature

Learn about Florida's beautiful and unique nature.





Florida Trees: Buttonbush-Deerberry
Native Floridian Buttonbush plantButtonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)- Buttonbush or Honeyball, is an attractive large woody shrub with showy, fragrant ball-shaped flower heads. Plant Button Bush shrubs in sunny, moist soil near a pond or stream or along a lake shore for protection from erosion caused by waves.  The seeds of our native common buttonbush seeds are eaten by ducks and numerous other water birds and the fragrant flowers are a favorite nectar source for butterflies. Wild Common Buttonbush occurs naturally from Florida to Mexico. Buttonbush is a large, multi-stemmed shrub that grows to a mature height of twelve feet.  It has opposite, entire leaves 2-6 inches long and 1-3 inches wide.  They are glabrous and green above.  The flowers occur in dense, round, 1 inch diameter clusters which bloom from June to September.  The seed matures in the round clusters that resemble those of the sycamore tree.

cherokeebean or coral bean, a bush native to FloridaCherokee Bean
(Erythrina herbacea)- Sometimes called the coral bean, the Cherokee bean produces herbaceous stems from a woody base that are typically about 3 ft  in height but sometimes more. In areas that experience freezes the stems are killed back in winter but in frost free areas the plant will form woody stems and may grow as high as 16 feet. In late spring and early summer showy scarlet blossoms appear. These long flattened tubes are about 2 inches long by approximately 1/8 inch in diameter. They are arranged in clusters at the stem tips and appear custom designed for hummingbird beaks. Flowers are followed by large pods that split open to reveal bright red seeds in late summer and fall. Coralbean is useful for bringing bright highlights to woodland plantings in low maintenance landscaping. It makes a showy addition to the perennial garden and attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies

Coco pum bush, a floridian native plant with a small berry sproutingCoco Plum (Chrysobalanus icaco)-  A medium sized shrub or small tree. The coco plum has a bushy, spreading growth habit and is sometimes trained into hedges. The coco plum is highly adaptable to coastline areas and will grow in alkaline conditions. It can withstand both salt spray and sandy soil. The coco plum is native to coastal areas from northern South America through Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Southern Florida. Redtip coco plum is one of the most commonly-used native plants.  You see it all over the place, probably without realizing it.  This is because it is usually box-cut to fit in narrow places in parking lots and other roadside areas.



the florida coin vine get small white flowersCoin Vine (Dalbergia ecastophyllum)- A trailing or climbing shrub or vine with stems to 25 feet in length, the coin vine grows in marshes behind the sand dunes, in mangrove swamps and wherever the tides carry the seed. The fruit are one-seeded pods, one-half to one inch in diameter. They are flat, round and copper-colored at maturity accounting for the common name, “coin vine.” Chemical compounds in these plants cause fish to become stupefied when roots or bark are crushed and placed in the water, a technique commonly used by coastal native Americans years ago. The coin vine has small 1/4 inch white flowers in clusters at leaf axils. It's fruit is a copper colored round pod.

bald cypress trees seen in the Florida evergladesCypress Tree -Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum L)- The bald cypress, often overgrown with Spanish moss, is the tree that gives the Louisiana bayous and the Florida everglades their exotic atmosphere. Despite its association with the South, the bald cypress is hardy and adaptable to many parts of the continent. The bald cypress has a pyramidal shape similar to other conifers, with a broad buttressed base. It reaches up to 100 feet in height in its native environment, but rarely more than 70 feet in culture. In wet situations it develops 'cypress knees': curious growths which rise out of the ground or water and are believed to help the tree breathe in swampy conditions. The short green needles turn brown and drop off in the fall. Its bark is fibrous and an attractive reddish brown. The small, rounded cones are of little decorative effect.

deerberry bush shown with fruit, also called southern gooseberry or buckberryDeerBerry (Vaccinium stamineum)-The scientific name of deerberry comes from the Latin word for 'stamen which stick out'. The flowers have prominent stamen that extend well beyond the petals. Other common names of this plant are squaw huckleberry, southern gooseberry, or buckberry. This shrub is sometimes grown as a hedge or background ornamental and reproduces quickly by runners. In the wild it is often seen in loose colonies. Deerberry is an important source of food for numerous wildlife species including wild turkey, quail, Rufus-sided towhee, and various rodents. White-tailed deer utilize the berries and vegetation as a significant resource, hence the common name, deerberry.
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