Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
A small rare plant of flatwoods and savannas in the central Florida panhandle from Leon and Franklin Counties to Bay County, plus Walton County. Often found with wiregrass and other gentians.
The solitary white flowers are terminal with five lobes that are shorter than the tube which is plaited with toothlike or fringed appendages between the lobes.
Wiregrass gentian blooms in the winter, typically January.
Plants rarely reach 30 cm (12 in') tall, flowers are 4 - 6 cm (1-1/2 to 2-1/2 in.) long, and the opposite linear or narrowly elliptic leaves are about 3 cm (1-1/4 in.) long.
The lower leaves of Gentiana pennelliana are reduced in size.
Four members of the genus Gentiana occur in Florida, all in the northern part of the state. G. pennelliana is the only one of these species endemic to the state and the only one with single flowers. The other three species of Gentiana have clusters of flowers, bloom in the fall and range throughout the southeast United States.
Found in forested wetlands, along rivers, ponds, lakes, swamps and marshes throughout Florida, although rare in the keys.
Wood ducks breed from southern Canada into much of the eastern United States to Cuba and in the west coast states. Winters in the southern portion of the breeding range and into the southwest states and Mexico.
One of the few ducks that nest in tree cavities, usually over or near the water. Declines in the number of natural cavities have prompted the placement of nest boxes which the ducks readily utilize. After hatching the chicks drop from the nest and make their way to the water.
The males are very colorful when in breeding plumage, head with long crest green and purple with white markings. Chestnut breast, white belly, reddish-violet under the tail, back and tail black with a metallic sheen. Non-breeding male gray, without crest but retaining white head markings. Female similar to non-breeding male with white around the eye tapering to the rear instead of the male's head stripes.
This evergreen perennial can be found in hammocks and moist upland wood forests throughout most of the panhandle and much of the north and central peninsula.
The range extends west into Texas and Oklahoma and though the eastern portion of North America as far north as Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland.
This woody herb grows prostrate and appears vine-like. The leaves are opposite, ovoid and glabrous. The usually four-lobed flowers are white, sometimes tinged with pink and hairy inside. Flowers appear in pairs and have a fused ovary, producing a berry with two dimples, leading to another common name of twinberry.
A winter visitor in freshwater and saltwater flats through the coastal areas of Florida.
The winter range includes southern California, Mexico, the southeastern United States coast from Texas to North Carolina, Cuba and the Bahamas.
American avocets breed in the western great plains from Saskatchewan and Alberta south into New Mexico and Texas.
Migration is through much of the western United States and Mexico, and they are a frequent fall visitor to the Atlantic Coast.
A large shorebird typically 43-47 cm (17-19 in.) long with a wingspan of 72 cm (28 in.), females being slightly smaller and having a shorter, more curved bill than the males. The underside is white, with black and white wings, the head and neck are rust-colored during breeding, gray otherwise, as seen in this non-breeding pair. Juveniles are pale rusty on the upper head and back of the neck, white on the lower face and front of the neck. The black, long, thin, upturned beak is distinctive on Recurvirostra americana. Long grayish-blue legs help differentiate this species from godwits, which have shorter, darker legs as well as very different markings.
Last week the flower of this plant was featured, this week the featured photo is the fruit of Carolina desert-thorn, which is often called Christmasberry.
The sprawling, spiny branches can be up to 2 or 3 meters (6-10 feet) long.
Alternate, spatulate, succulent leaves are 1 - 2.5 cm (3/8 - 1 in.) long and 4 - 6 mm (3/16 - 1/4 in.) wide.
The pale violet to nearly white four-lobed flowers are 1 cm (3/8 in.) in width and typically appear in summer and fall, although may bloom all year in south Florida.
The elliptic berry is bright red.
Lycium carolinianum gets one of the common names - Christmasberry - from the red berries that are often present in December.
There are at least two other plants, both non-native problematic invasives, that are also sometimes called Christmas berry. Ardisia crenata - coral ardisia - and Schinus terebinthifolius - Brazilian pepper - have spread from landscapes into natural areas.
A frequent shrub of beach dunes, shell mounds, hammocks, salt marshes and salt flats along much of the Florida coast.
The range extends along the southeastern coast from Texas into South Carolina. The sprawling, spiny branches can be up to 2 or 3 meters (6-10 feet) long. Alternate, spatulate, succulent leaves are 1 - 2.5 cm (3/8 - 1 in.) long and 4 - 6 mm (3/16 - 1/4 in.) wide. The pale violet to nearly white four-lobed flowers are 1 cm (3/8 in.) in width and typically appear in summer and fall, although may bloom all year in south Florida. The elliptic berry is bright red and is often present in December, giving this plant another common name of Christmasberry.