Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
Even though I have seen witchhazel in one of its central Florida locations, this featured photo and other images of witchhazel on this website were made while backpacking on the Cumberland Trail in Tennessee.
This shrub or small tree can be found in wet hammocks, creek swamps and ravines in the northern parts of Florida and into the central peninsula, mostly inland. The range extends throughout eastern North America, west into Texas and Oklahoma.
Growing up to 26 feet in height, the trunk is low branching with zig-zag twigs. Leaves are alternate and simple, 2-1/3 to 6 inches long and up to four inches wide, with undulate or scalloped margins. The dull green leaves turn pale yellow in autumn. The small but distinctive late fall and winter flowers have yellow ribbon-like petals. The fruit is a small brown four-pointed and two-valved capsule 3/8 to 5/8 inch long.
The seeds are a food for wildlife, including birds, deer, beaver and rabbits.
While searching for mangrove images in my library of photographs for the recent blog post, I found this and other photographs of an agreeable tiger moth that I had not yet processed or posted.
This moth ranges through much of the Eastern United States, west into North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Also found in Ontario and New Brunswick.
Also called the yellow-legged tiger moth, it is mostly white with a few black spots on the forewings. The edge of the front legs are often yellow-orange. If any black on the legs, it is not separated into multiple bands (which would be S.virginica - Virginian tiger moth).
The featured photo shows black mangrove flowers, buds and leaves. This black mangrove was photographed along Highbridge Rd, part of the Ormond Scenic Loop bordering Bulow Creek.
The most wide ranging of the mangroves in Florida, black mangroves can be found in coastal counties as far north as St. Johns County on the east coast and Levy County on the west, plus Taylor and Franklin Counties. Also occurs in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The range includes Mexico, much of the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America,
One of the most distinctive features of Avicennia germinans are the pneumatophores. These are erect aerial roots that allow the plant to breathe. They are narrow. mostly straight, vertical roots that resemble skinny stalagmites surrounding the plant. Black mangroves have small tubular flowers with four white petals that are borne in conical clusters. The fruit is a flattened green pod from 3-5 cm long, asymmetrical in shape with pointed apices, somewhat resembling a large misshapen lima bean. Mangrove fruit is called a propagule. Propagules are disbursed by floating and germinate before coming to rest. Germination can happen while still on the tree, which is known as vivipary.
This is one of the four species in three separate families that are considered mangroves, a grouping made due to their shared habitat and each species' unique adaptations for tolerating the salt-water environment. The other Florida native members of this group are the red mangrove, white mangrove and buttonwood, or button mangrove.
The genus Avicennia has previously been considered a member of the Verbenaceae family.
The Wild Florida Photo Mangrove page.
Wild hogs can be found throughout Florida, preferring oak-cabbage palm hammocks, freshwater marshes and sloughs, pine flatwoods and open agricultural areas.
Wild pigs in Florida can grow to over 150 pounds (68 kg) and be 1.5-1.8m (5-6 ft.) long. Coloring is highly variable. The favorite food is acorns, but they will eat almost anything.
Feral pigs are a problem because of the damage they do to the habitat, tearing up large large areas of ground and often destroying local populations of rare plants.
These animals breed profusely and are ancestors of pigs that have escaped from domestication over the years as far back as from the early Spanish explorers and colonists in Florida