A Fine Line Between Spring and Summer for Florida’s Wildflowers

Rose Mock Vervain; Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Rose Mock Vervain; Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

This is a make-up post!  I’ve had various photo projects that have taken the majority of my time this Spring, as well as that dysfunctional laptop until a month ago.  What I really wanted to post was a few of the native Florida wildflower images I have taken in recent months, ever since the weather warmed up (saying this tongue-in-cheek; we had a very mild winter, even for Florida).  Anyone interested in learning more about Florida’s gorgeous native wildflowers, check out this link to the Florida Wildflower Foundation: http://flawildflowers.org/

Dixie/Prairie Iris; Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Dixie/Prairie Iris; Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

We all have favorite locations of which we are lucky to live at least semi-near.  One of mine is Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area, in east Orlando.  Bobcats, bears, panther, hawks, eagles, otters: all have been documented here (unfortunately, not by me).  It is also a great place for wildflowers, if you keep your vision open.  Autumn brings pine lilies, blazing star, goldenrod, and more; Spring brings blue-eyed grass, prairie iris, and yellow butterwort (carnivorous plant!), among others. Most of the images in this post are from Tosohatchee WMA, though each location is noted anyway.

Yellow Butterwort (carnivorous plant); Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Yellow Butterwort (carnivorous plant). The flower is propped on a stem several inches tall, with a radial base of sticky leaves on the ground. Insects stick to the leaves, and are then digested by the plant!  Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

“Tosohatchee” is a Native American word that roughly translates to “fowl river.”  (Let’s make that clear: “fowl,” not “foul!”)  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has an interesting historical account of the area on their website, which you can read here:  http://www.myfwc.com/viewing/recreation/wmas/lead/tosohatchee/history/

Common Blue Violet; Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Common Blue Violet; Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Driving along the roadways at Tosohatchee, it is easy to miss the variety of flora along both shoulders, especially when you have trained your brain to scan the both the treeline and the road ahead.  Yet many of the wildflowers are found either along the shoulder, or just beyond!  Thus far, all my images in this post have come from the side of the main road through Tosohatchee.  The first image of rose mock vervain was a short jump across a tiny drainage creek, but spotted from the road.  The image above of a common violet ALMOST didn’t get made, until I stopped the car and looked down, realizing that there was a spattering of purple all around my feet!  And taking a different trail yielded this:

A single white bog violet (Viola lanceolata) blooms in early Spring; Florida, USA.

A single white bog violet (Viola lanceolata) blooms in early Spring; Tosohatchee WMA; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Narrow-leafed Blue-eyed Grass; (wild-growing) Brevard Zoo; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Narrow-leafed Blue-eyed Grass; (wild-growing) Brevard Zoo; Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

The image of blue-eyed grass above was only made because I had to re-train my powers of observation, even at work!  I must have kayaked past this clump a thousand times, but since I was in animal-mode while leading tours, I never noticed it!  Wouldn’t that have been a shame…

All the images above were taken the first half of March; however, while leading a kayak tour around at work last week, I saw another new flower for my list:

Marsh Pink; wild-growing at Brevard Zoo, Melbourne, FL.  Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

Marsh Pink; wild-growing at Brevard Zoo, Melbourne, FL. Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2015.

For anyone interested, all images were shot using natural light, a Canon 40D, and either a 28-105mm or 100-400mm Canon lens, usually with an extension tube.

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3 thoughts on “A Fine Line Between Spring and Summer for Florida’s Wildflowers

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