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A close-up image of a flower from Bartram's Airplant. This photograph was made in Haw Creek Preserve State Park.

Bartram's Airplant Flower - Tillandsia bartramii

Tillandsia bartramii is frequently found in hammocks of the Florida peninsula from just north of Lake Okeechobee to the Suwannee River and from Jefferson County to Gulf County in the panhandle. It can also be found in Georgia, South Carolina and Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Bartram's airplant is an epiphyte, anchoring itself on trees with its wiry roots, but not deriving any nutrition from the tree, unlike a parasite. It is and evergreen herb forming dense clusters of stiff, spreading leaves on the branches and trunks of trees. The needle-like Leaves are covered with pinkish-gray scales, less than a quarter inch wide except for the widened triangular base, and six to 16 inches long. Flowers appear in spring and summer at the end of three to six inch long stalks ending in rose-red overlapping bracts, with 5-20 flowers emerging from the bracts. The corolla is narrow and tubular, made up of three violet petals. Fruit is a narrow brown tubular capsule about an inch long that opens into three parts releasing plumed seeds.

Bartram's Airplant Flower by Paul Rebmann


The strand of dwarf cypress trees as seen in spring from the Ralph G. Kendrick Boardwalk in Tate's Hell State Forest.

Dwarf Cypress Strand - Pond Cypress - Taxodium ascendens

These dwarf cypress trees occur in a basin swamp in Tate's Hell State Forest in the Florida panhandle. They are pond cypress that grow small due to the particular habitat in this location. Dwarf cypress also can be found in south Florida in sloughs and marl prairies.
For more photos and information about pond cypress, see the Pond Cypress page

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A tricolored heron wading in the shallows along the edge of a pond in a city park.

TRICOLORED HERON - Egretta tricolor

Found throughout Florida, tricolored herons range along the Atlantic Coast as far north as Maine in the summer, retreating to south of North Carolina in the winter. The range extends along the U.S. gulf coast, both coasts of Mexico and along the South American coasts to Peru and northern Brazil.
A medium-sized heron, being 63-68 cm (25-28 in.) in length with a wingspan of 95-105 cm (37-41 in.). The white underbelly in all plumages, in combination with a dark breast, is unique among the herons and can assist in identification. The broken white line down the foreneck can appear similar to the great blue heron. Tricolor herons have an extremely long bill, yellow in juveniles and during the winter, turning blue with a dark tip during breeding season, typically February through July in North America. Legs are yellow, turning pinkish-red when in breeding plumage, which includes white head plumes and long buffy plumes on the back. Neck is russet in immature birds, slaty-blue in all adults.
Requiring a wetland habitat, Egretta tricolor is listed as a species of special concern in Florida and a number of other states. Previously called the Louisiana heron, they were historically populous in Louisiana but have suffered from extensive wetlands loss in that area. Significant nesting populations exist in the Tampa Bay and Cape Canaveral areas, and this species will benefit greatly from Everglades restoration.

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A whitetop pitcherplant seen Memorial Day weekend in Tate's Hell State Forest.

WHITETOP PITCHERPLANT - Sarracenia leucophylla

A frequent pitcherplant of bogs, seepage slopes, wet prairies, and acid swamps from Leon & Franklin Counties west through much of the panhandle. The range extends into Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, plus North Carolina.
The erect pitchers are green on the lower part and white on the upper portion with red reticulate markings. The hood margin is undulate, or wavy. The flowers are pink to dark red, have 5 sepals and petals, unbrella-like styles and appear at the end of tall stalks.

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Rodman Reservoir Drawdown

I spent two different days kayaking near each end of the Rodman Reservoir during this winter's drawdown. In March I paddled downstream from the Eureka bridge to Cannon Springs. In January I launched from the temporary Kenwood Landing ramp closer to the dam where I made this photograph of the exposed dead tree stumps and their reflections in the lowered lake water.

Reflections of a Drowned Forest

The Rodman Reservoir is a relic of the cancelled Cross Florida Barge Canal project. This reservoir is created by the Rodman Dam on the Ocklawaha River along the north side of the Ocala National Forest.
The tall stumps in these photos were tress that were drowned by the creation of the reservoir and are exposed like this during the periodic drawdowns of the lake level. This is done during the winter, typically once every three years to reduce the aquatic plants that clog the lake and river and also to dry out some of the muck. These drawdowns help improve the water quality of the man-made lake.
Both human and avian fishers take advantage of the drawdowns which concentrate the fish in a smaller volume of water. Bald eagles are abundant, often perching on the many exposed stumps. Herons, egrets and limpkins can also be found taking advantage of the drawdown.
The drawdown also exposes a number of springs that are now usually under much deeper lake water. One of these is Cannon Springs.
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These big flowers of bigflower pawpaw were photographed in Volusia County's Lyonia Preserve. This endemic Asimina species is found only in the central and northern peninsula of Florida and was first noted by both William Bartram and André Michaux during their 18th century explorations of Florida.

BIGFLOWER PAWPAW - Asimina obovata

Asimina obovata is found primarily in scrub habitats, but also in scrubby flatwoods, dry sand ridges and occasionally in xeric hammocks.
Bigflower pawpaw can be a shrub or small tree growing to over 12 feet tall. Flowers & fruit form at the terminous of stems and on short, red-pubescent lateral shoots. There are 3 sepals and 6 white or greenish white petals, the 3 inner petals have maroon corrugated bases. Flowers appear from March through May, opening after the emergence of the current season's leaves.
Another common name for this plant is flag pawpaw, a name that is also sometimes used for Asimina reticulata.
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