Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spreading the milkweed message

Milkweed is blooming in scrub and sandhill in
late summer. As fall follows summer, so does
the inevitable process to prepare for the next

One milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa (aka butterfly weed) is moving to the next step. Its seed pod has opened, revealing the gossamer mass of future milkweeds to be enjoyed by butterfly caterpillars and wildflower enthusiasts next year.

Milkweeds are varied in scrub. We also have Asclepias curtissi, a listed species that is not as common or as showy, but impressive nonetheless.

It is still blooming.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Living color in the scrub

As I wrote recently, the Blazing Star is at or
near its peak in the north tract and continues to attract all kinds of pollinators.

Occasionally there's a moth, such as this one, which is more colorful than many I see here.

I'm planning a night survey just to see what's around. I will do it this week, weather permitting.

I also had a Queen caterpillar on Asclepias tuberosa, which I read is not common. I'm sure the butterflies know what they're doing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blue-eyed Grass never disappoints

Ocasionally I run across clumps of one species of Blue-eyed Grass that's common in scrubby habitats.

The blooms typically don't emerge until later in the day many times, though I've seen some earlier lately. Maybe it's the weather.

They're just a lovely, colorful addition to my walks.

Opening encourages Blazing Star explosion

One of the advantages of the opening of Lake Blue has been the explosion of Blazing Star (L. tennufolia, I think) in several areas. They've always been there, but this year there are more dense stands, which may have been surpressed in the past by the overstory.

It makes for locally glorious views. Butterflies have been taking advantage. I've seen Monarchs, Silver-spotted Skippers (two on one plant), Gulf Fritillaries and others.

This is as colorful a harbinger of all in this part of Florida as anything.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grass ID harder than I thought

I went out this afternoon, armed with the new field guide of Florida grasses. I didn't get very far. I found this giant grass near the lupine plantings, but I'm still not sure what it is.

It seems as though it should have been obvious, but it wasn't. The seed heads/flowers stumped me.

Not the first at the summit

I climbed one of the tree piles left over from last year's land-clearing work to take some photos of the expanding waves of Natal grass.

It seems I wasn't the first one to make the ascent. I found two beer cans up there and they appeared to be fresh. Glad to offer recreation for the neighborhood.