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BALD-CYPRESS

This slow-growing tree can be found throughout most of Florida in lakes, swamps, floodplains and along streams.

The range extends north to New York and west into Texas, mostly in the coastal plain, and up the Mississippi River drainage into southern Illinois.
The trunk of bald cypress is spreading at the base with a deep tap root and spreading roots that send up knees extending out of the soil and water. The purpose of these knees is not entirely clear, but they are believed to help both with support and gas exchange.
The vast cypress forests of the southeast United States have mostly been timbered, leaving few old-growth trees. The Suncoast chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society has produced a brochure called Why kill a tree to grow a flower? (pdf file) explaining the detriments of using cypress mulch and listing some alternatives that are available.



ROSEATE SPOONBILL

This distinctive bird is a resident of Florida, breeding from the Keys north to Tampa Bay and dispersing along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from July through October.

Found in coastal flats, lagoons and marshes, rarely inland, and often nests in colonies with herons.
A large wader, nearly a meter in length with a wingspan of 1.3 m., roseate spoonbills have a mostly pink body, white on the back and neck, with a bare head. The spatulate bill of Platalea ajaja is swept back and forth through the water and mud feeling for aquatic invertebrates.
Purchase Roseate Soaring by Paul Rebmann



SNOWY EGRET

A resident of Florida and along the gulf coast to Mexico, the Pacific coast of Southern California and Mexico and most of South America east of the Andes.

During breeding season the range of Egretta thula extends north along the eastern seaboard into Maine, up the Mississippi River to Tennessee, north through Texas into Oklahoma and most of the Rocky Mountain states. Can be seen as a migrant or vagrant in most other states and the exteme south of Canada.
Snowy egrets are entirely white at all stages of life and during breeding they exhibit long, lacy plumes on the back, chest and crown. Feet are yellow with black legs that are dark green in immature birds. Bill slender and black and the lores are yellow.



BUTTERWEED

Butterweed is found in wet places through much of Florida, except for the most northeastern counties and a few other scattered areas of the state.

The range extends throughout the southeastern United States up the Atlantic coast to Maryland, west to Texas, north to South Dakota and up the Ohio River valley into Kentucky and Ohio. Previously known to occur in Ontario, but presumed extirpated. Packera glabella is a common annual which can reach nearly a meter in height, but is usually shorter. In the Florida peninsula it can begin blooming in the winter, elsewhere mid-spring to mid-summer. The stem is hollow, smooth, ribbed and succulent with alternate leaves reduced upward. The leaves are pinately divided with the end segment being the largest. The yellow flowers are numerous in corymbs with toothed rays and linear bracts.



QUEEN

The queen butterfly is a resident of Florida and southern California south through Central America and the West Indies, into South America as far as Argentina.

During the warmer seasons they migrate out of this range into much of the United States except for the most northern regions.
Along with monarchs and soldiers, queens are a member of the subfamily Danainae also known as the milkweed butterflies. Host plants are both herbs and vines of the milkweed (Asclepiadaceae) family. The diet makes both the caterpillar and butterfly extrememly distasteful to predators. This tactic is so successful that the viceroy butterfly in its southern range mimics the queen.



MONKEY SLUG

The larvae of the hag moth, or hag moth caterpillar is also known as the monkey slug.

This is one of the four major stinging caterpillars in Florida.