Floridian Nature

Learn about Florida's beautiful and unique nature.

Florida Trees: Gulf Greytwig-Inkberry
gulf greytwig endangered Florida shrubGulf Greytwig (Schoepfia chrysophylloides)- The gulf greytwig is an endangered, small Florida native tree or a large shrub. Endemic to Florida within the U.S the gulf greytwig goes to a height of up to 20 feet tall with an equal spread. Greytwig leaves are somewhat thin, elliptic with entire margins in an alternate arrangement. They are drab green on the upper surface and lighter green on undersides. Gulf greytwigs have small red to orange flowers that are produced from leaf axils year-round in South Florida. The peak flowering times are in spring & fall. Greytwigs, sometimes called whitewood are found mostly in shell mounds and Florida Hammocks.

Floridian gumbo limbo treeGumbo Limbo
(Bursera simaruba L.)- Gumbo-limbo is a tropical tree that is native to the southeastern United States. It adapts to a variety of habitats, from dry to moist, and is fairly salt-tolerant. It is also considered one of the most wind-tolerant trees in south Florida and is recommended as a good, hurricane-resistant species. Gumbo-limbo is planted for shade and ornamental use on backyard patios, or along streets and highways. It readily sprouts from branches stuck into the ground and is sometimes used to plant natural, living fences. Some birds, including mockingbirds and vireos, regularly consume the deep red fruits of gumbo-limbo during the summer and fall months.

Florida scrub hickoryHickory: Florida has two varieties of hickory trees, the scrub hickory, and the water hickory.
Scrub Hickory (Carya floridana)- Scrub hickory has the most restricted distribution of any Carya species in the United States, being confined to about 20 counties in central Florida centered around Osceola County. The scrub hickory is identified by the abundant, rust-colored scales on the buds and lower leaf surfaces. Scrub hickory varies in habit from a multi-trunked shrub, bearing fruit on stems 3 to 4 feet in height, to a single trunked tree of 50 to 70 feet in height.

water hickory tree found in FloridaWater Hickory (Carya aquatica)- Water hickory is also called bitter pecan or swamp hickory.  It is best known for its use in smoking meats, such as ham and bacon, whose rich, hickory-smoked flavor are a southern tradition. Water hickory trees regenerate aggressively in swamps and wetlands. Several wildlife species consume the fruits of water hickory trees, including wild hogs, wood ducks and squirrels, who depend heavily on the nuts in their diets. The trees also provide refuge for numerous smaller animals and birds.

beautiful dahoon holly found in FloridaHolly- Dahoon Holly  (Ilex cassine)- The Dahoon Holly is one of several species of plants whose male and female flowers are on separate plants. Because of this, only the female plants will bare the bright red berries for which the holly is well known. This small tree grows to be 20 - 30 feet tall and up to 15 feet wide. The trunk can reach up to one and  feet in diameter. The leaves of the dahoon holly are alternate, simple, and may be oblanceolate, elliptic, or ovate in shape. Each leaf may be two to four inches long, green and shiny on the top and, pubescent on the bottom. The leaves are leathery and have sharp teeth near the end of the leaf. The fruit is a berry that may be orange, red or yellow. Fruit occurs in groups of one to three and ripens by late fall

Floridian Indigo bushIndigo Bush (Amorpha fruticosa L.) -Indigo bush has poor forage value for livestock and wildlife. It is suspected of being poisonous. The principal value of this plant is the aesthetic value of its attractively colored vivid purple flowers. Native Americans used it as a dye. indigo-bush is a 6-10 ft., loose, airy shrub which often forms dense thickets. Plants develop a leggy character with the majority of their pinnately compound, fine-textured foliage on the upper third of the plant.  The indigo bush is also called the False indigo bush, False indigo, or Desert false indigo. The indigo bush is fast growing, attractive and has beautiful blooms. This shrub does well in a wet environment such as bog or pond area.

florida inkberry shrubInkberry  (Baccharis halimifolia L) -The inkberry  is generally described as a Perennial Shrub and is named for its berries, which are black as ink. The thick, evergreen leaves are very smooth. Large Gallberry  is similar, but has broader leaves and slightly broader and flatter fruits. The berries turn from pale green to black as ink as they ripen. The Inkberry has a long life span relative to most other plant species and a slow growth rate. At maturity, the typical Inkberry will reach up to 8 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 8 feet.  The Inkberry has Green foliage and inconspicuous white flowers, with black fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the Spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the Summer and continuing until Fall.
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