Ghost Plants of American Forests

A peculiar wild flower grows in many forest throughout North America. It is a strange plant because it has no chlorophyll, the substance that gives plants their green color and is critical in the production of food for the plant through photosynthesis. It is totally white – stems scale-like leaves and flowers. It depends on […]

The Beautiful Spider Lily

Crayon green linear leaves sprout from underground bulbs amid the knees of a cypress tree growing in the shallow water at the edge of Lake Tsala Apopka. Amid this attractive foliage, snow white flowers bloom on the end of long green stalks in the Florida sunshine. The blooming of the spider lily is a welcome […]

Wild Morning Glory

Deep violet blossoms pepper a dark Cypress forest giving the shady woodland some pleasing color. Each flower’s dark violet center guides bumblebees to the flower’s nectar. As it leans in for the nectar, the bee’s legs rub against pollen and by default, pollinates the plants when it flies from flower to flower. By noon, the flowers […]

The Flower That Lights up the Beach

Salty air, dry sandy soil, and full sunshine are the ideal conditions for the beach sunflower to flourish. It is a common wildflower of Florida’s Atlantic beach environments where it grows on the coastal dunes.  This plant survives the droughty soil by storing water in its tap-root. Lateral roots help to hold it in place […]

The Sensitive “Weed”

Dozens of pinkish purple starbursts dot the lawn behind the community clubhouse. To many these are weeds to be mowed when the contractor cares for the community’s common grounds. But if you stop to smell the flowers and examine the plant closely, you will discover a remarkable wildflower with a fascinating natural history. It is […]

Gold Buttons in November

The phone rings and I answer it. It is my daughter  from Maryland telling me it is freezing  and that there are winter weather advisories for her area. She tells me they may be getting a bit of snow followed by ice and then rain threatening to make her morning compute to the D.C. area […]

The Life Around Water Lilies

Water lilies are in ponds around the world. There are many different species, but they all perform the same functions. Fish will often hide under the canopy of the lily when sensing osprey and other raptors seeking fish to eat. Turtles and frogs find shelter and food among the lily pads. Alligators float in the midst of the lily pads to blend in with the […]