Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Native Florida Sand Pine Scrub Land

     We are so lucky to live in an absolutely amazing part of this country...South Florida.  A place where in a few hours drive you could be air-boating across the Everglades, camping in an indigenous old growth forest in Ocala, collecting seashells on our gorgeous sugar sand beaches, experiencing Walt Disney World, scuba diving in the Atlantic ocean swimming among our coral reef's, charter fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, surfing perfect waves on the Treasure Coast or tubing throughout our fresh water springs and rivers.  Gosh, I could go on and on about how fantastic Florida is.  Though a sidebar here, I truly wish Florida's elected government officials would preserve more our precious land and stop this ridiculous over development.  I am sure I'm not the only one that feels we need more parks, community gardens and protected areas of natural flora and fauna.  Ahhhh maybe one day we will but an end to the insanity....until then please get out there to show your support by enjoying the wonderful parks that we do have.

     One little gem of a park here in Pompano is called "Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub Natural Area".  Yes, very convoluted name though extremely simple by nature.  So many people drive right past it, never stopping to experience something new.  Consider this if you will...a lunch time break to ease your mind and walk along a meandering path of nature and fresh air.  So here are a few pictures of our sand pine scrub walkabout last evening.
Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub Natural Area
This sign greets you at the entrance 
Just in case if you didn't know already
This native wildflower, Puncture Weed, has a
sprawling growth pattern along the sandy ground.
The butterflies love the yellow buttercup flowers.
Puncture weed, tribulus cistoides, or Burnut
is a dainty looking plant but be careful because
like it's name it has sharp thorns on it.
The sun was setting in the west as we walked
about the nature trail.  This kind of light really
brings out all the colors in the landscape.
This picture reminds me of the old Florida
landscape painters.  When they would bring all their
materials with them and paint in the native surroundings.
When we were young, I remember my brother
& his friend ate these Abrus seeds despite being
warned numerous times they are poisonous!
They had to have their stomach's pumped since the
seed contains a deadly toxin called abrin.  One seed can
kill a human but birds seem unaffected, go figure.
Abrus or Rosary Pea, abrus precatorius, are a non-native vine that grows in Florida's woodlands. The hard seeds are bright red with a black spot as a warning...do not eat!  If you haven't seen these in the wild then you may have seen jewelry made from these. 

Gopher tortoise's love eating the fruit from
these prickly pear cactus. The fruit can
also be made into jellies & jams, delicious!
This is a nice composition of the pineland part of
a scrub area.  The pine trees are the large trees in a scrub
environment providing shade for understory shrubs.
Which way do we go???
We went this way :)
To the left of the pictures is a Sand Pine, in the
middle is a Saw Palmetto Palm, the right is a
Sand Live Oak covered in Lovevine.  The foreground
is Gopher Apple, & Wild leaf October flowers.
A close up of some of the ground plants: Wild Leaf October flowersGopher Apple, all covered in Lovevine

Sand Pine with pine cones all over
Close up of a Sand Pine tree

Florida Rosemary with a Greenbrier vine
growing over it.
I tried to get a good picture but to no avail though this is a 7-minute-itch plant or Tread-Softly, is covered in small hairs that pack a stinging punch, so don't pick the flowers here, lol
We saw & heard the Kestral, WOW!
Plus lots of butterflies
Some of the native plants I have mentioned in the previous pictures. These informative signs are throughout the path.

I have no idea what these plants are but
apparently they were in bloom & everywhere.
I just love this picture with all the different colors
textures and layers of plants.  Just wish we had a
better camera to take vividly clear pictures. :)

The only reason why I spotted this little beauty
of an airplant tucked down in an oak is because of
the bright red, orange & yellow spikey bloom.
This an oak covered in lichen & what is called ball moss, which is really a type of airplant. These plants aren't harmful to oaks but are part of it's ecosystem.
All good things must come to an end, these
trees have become termite delicacy.
Ant mounds, just how cool is that!

Love these Sand Pine trees, the way the
wind blows through the needles makes a
peaceful shwoooosh sound
What a gorgeous day to be out in
nature, exploring our counties parks
right in our own backyards.
If you didn't know what these little puff
balls are you would probably never notice them.
This is deer moss which is part of the lichen family.
A closer look at deer moss, they are extremely slow
growing. A small patch like this probably took decades, so let's leave them for the deer to eat.
A beautiful little pot-bellied airplant growing
 in an oak with it's bright red bloom.
Saw Palmetto & Oak tree.
Lichen growing all over the oak.
Another captured moment in time.
Love the composition of this picture.
Moss & Lichen cover Oak tree trunks.

Looking to the sky with wonder & amazement
Up in the Myrtle Oak is a beautiful
GiantWild Pine Airplant
This picture of another giant wild pine
airplant looks like it could be in the mangroves
Absolutely stunning color orange of this fungus
growing on a dead oak branch on the forest floor.
     Well this concludes our little tour of one of Broward Counties parks, aka protected scrub land area.  This is a little peak of what some areas of Florida would look like if we never stepped foot here to develop our malls & houses. Hope you enjoyed a little bit of Florida's natural flora and fauna in the scrub land of Pompano Beach.
Now get out there, enjoy the gorgeous weather we are having & plant some native species! :)
Happy Gardening!

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