The Isle of Flowers - From the Guide to The Southernmost State

Welcome to another episode of the sunshine Republic. Today we will continue on with 1929’s the guide to the southernmost state, in particular the section about the Isle of flowers.  

Florida, regarded by Ponce de Leon as the Isle of flowers entirely within the temperate zone, but is influenced by sub-tropical waters. As a result, most of its tropical plants bloom in the summer and many of the temperate zone varieties bloom in the winter, a reversal of the usual order. This, together with the state's four distinct growing seasons, produces an unusual mingling of vegetation high and low hammocks, fresh and salt marshes, sand and clay hills. Rich muck beds are well suited to both native and imported plant life and distribution of the many species is greatly influenced by topography. Native plants are especially sensitive to elevation. 

Flat pine woods, shallow depression reaching water level usually results in the appearance of a cypress dome. Rise of from six to eight feet frequently means a change from pine scrub a Black Jack oak. Mark Catesby, an English naturalist, collected specimens of Florida plant life as early as 1731 and published prints of many that he found in the last quarter of the 18th century. 

William Bartram of John Bartram, botanists to the King of England, created something of a sensation both here and abroad. His published description of Florida plants and only recently, a rare bulbous plant described by him. 

Blue Ixia was rediscovered growing on the roadside between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. And Andre Michaud, who was sent to Florida by the French government to gather botanical specimens arrived in 1788. Part of his herbarium is now in the drug game, the plants in Paris. 

Dr. Henry Bryan, distinguished pioneer in the study of sub-tropical plants, met his death on Indian key at the hands of Indians in 1840. 

Dr. Alvin Wentworth Chapman of Apalachicola, narrowly escaped captured by Indians. He was searching your St Marks for the feathery blooms of the TT a native trait is Flora of the southern United States, published in 1860, is still a standard work. 

As a result of studies by these and many other distinguished botanists, more than 3000 varieties of indigenous flowering plants have been identified, ranging in size from the Magnolia, the delicate terrestrial orchid, in many cases found nowhere else in North America. 

Gather with 1000s of important tropical or subtropical plants make Florida a favorite field for the botanist and amateur flower lover. 

General Florida vegetation is distributed among seven or more less distinct habitats flatwoods rub lands, grassy swamps savannas salt marshes, hammocks, or hardwood forests and high pinelands. Collectively, these contain about half of the tree species found in north of Mexico, and more varieties of native trees than any similar region in America north of the Tropic of Cancer. Yet only five oak, pine, Cypress mangrove the familiar trees of Florida flatwoods common throughout the state system a poorly drained level areas with a sour boggy soil. The open forests constitute their chief vegetation. 

They contain an abundance of flowers that bloom many months of the year. Most noteworthy in the low and wet fields of lower Florida are the terrestrial orchids, which there are 64 varieties. You're also the insect capturers your plants Sundews and yellow and purple ping Akula together with red lilies and several species of milk wort. Among the more showy native species are the Leatrice, commonly called the blazing star, who's nodding purple spikes decorate the landscape in late summer fall. Gray leaved pale blue lupine covers the hills erode size as early as February. 

The scrub lands identified by small sand pines include much of the ridge district in the central part of the peninsula. Gather with the sand dunes along the coasts. Ridge area bounding in lakes and springs is characterized by dense growths of saw palmetto, or green live oaks, blackjack and water oaks interspersed with varieties of evergreen shrubs Hollies and such members of the heath family as huckleberries Michael berries and Federer Bush many species of cactus are common. 

Throughout the central and lower East Coast section grows a cycad the coontie of the genius is Amelia roots of which provide a kind of arrowroot. From these roots, the Indians often made bread during the summer all wars they could not remain in one locale ate long enough to raise corn. 

Most of this region is fragrant from early March to June with the blossoms of commercially grown grapefruit, tangerine and orange trees. The orange blossom is of interest not only to citrus growers and wedding parties, and has been chosen the state flower during the same season fields of white and red morning glories, sunflowers and Black Eyed Susans are conspicuous. 

The savannas of Central Florida, water lettuce forms a heavy aquatic growth and the spectacular displays of the yellow American Lotus may be seen on several the freshwater marshes. The major marine grasses are the turtle, eel and Manatee varieties. 

Cabbage palm predominates in Palm savannas over the state. Floating water highest sense there are many small lakes and streams often growing quickly enough to impede navigation. East Coast for a distance along the lower Gulf Coast are flourishing growth of Spanish bayonets including sea grapes, lantana, blue Verbania all have  larger plant growth.

North Florida is long leaf and other pines cypresses magnolias Bay's gums and oaks trees native to the northwest area means cedar and Floridian you are only alone APA electrical River. Chapman's Rhododendron is found exclusively in the sandy Pinelands of West Florida. 

Near the coast in lower Dade County, and extending to the western edge of homestead an area of 500 square miles is a regional land without a close counterpart elsewhere in the world. In the absence of sufficient topsoil, the trees take root directly in a soft honeycombed Lime Rock that outcrops here much of the native vegetation of southern Florida just free from severe frost occurs nowhere else in the United States. Here Cyprus's mangroves Havanese ferns. Liana has an aerial plant growths flourish as well as several of the state's most decorative palm trees. Half dozen varieties of oak, Laurel, water and live oaks, later in the ladder and evergreen species attained great size. 

Many of the state’s towns and villages may be recognized immediately as older settlements by the water oaks, with their straight trunks and high branches that shade the streets. It has been said of the Live Oak that a man can always rest his hand on a lower bow. A trunk is short and thick, and the spread of the tree is often greater than its height. Some of the most huge live oaks in Florida today, were standing when America was discovered. Although the palm is Florida's much exploited emblem and pine is its commonest trick from the stunted San variety to the tall open crown leave type of pine ranges over the peninsula on upland and playing

masses luxuriantly in the flat woods. The quick rolling slash the crop of pine with the loblolly plies raw material to Florida's paper mills. 

Florida has about 15 native palms, among which only the cabbage Palmetto grows naturally throughout the state. To these more than 100 species have been added from every palm growing country in the world. Majority of the natives include for pot for palmettos or palmate or fan flared only to Royal and the coconut bear Pinay or feather leaves. The Royal Palm largely transplanted grows wild on a mock lens near the lower Gulf Coast. The coconut palm so transplanted is widespread in the Florida Keys extending to Key West presents here is attributed to the buoyancy of the fruit drifted up from the American tropics and took root on the island reef. Other Palms small and mostly the fact varieties grow on the roof palmettos their recumbent trunks and enormous root systems form impenetrable mats that blanket the dry waste spaces throughout the state are usually a yellow green color, but one variety of Saw Palmetto takes on a starting startingly blue on the high dunes along the Atlantic coast. Royal is a sovereign palm for ornamental planting and cooler Central Florida it abdicates in favor of a palm popularly called cocoas Mimosa a hearty federally importation from Brazil. The Washingtonian palm from Mexico is another much news for street planting. it attains great height, does not shunt it's fronds and unless trimmed it sports a grey hula skirt or dry leaves reaches nearly to the ground. Among the curious importations is the traveler’s palm. Apparently two dimensional fan shaped tree and fog fronds of which are sent to point naturally north and south. It can be tapped for drinking water and therefore serves both as a fountain and a compass. 

Dense thickets of red, white and black mangroves cover the greater portion of flowers lower coast. mangroves grow from floating seeds shaped somewhat like elephant tusks that anchor themselves in shallow places. These strange trees rise from tide washed sand flats, where with their exposed perpendicular roots give the impression of a forest marching on stilts. The mangrove is a land to build its aerial roots collect quantities of drifting Earth from the break and gradually the shoreline back of the trees is extended. Greatest of mangrove forests are those on the 10,000 Islands, a wild and partly submerged reef region south of Marco Island on the Gulf Coast. 

The largest swamp and Savanna area of the state is the Everglades section occupying nearly all the southern interior of the peninsula and cover for the most part in tall grasses and sedges. Most common being a tawny sawgrass elevations and islands or patches of Live Oak surrounded by fringes of cocoplum. custard apple, a species of the unknown often forms dense thickets here, where the land is low. 

Cypress is the common tree. Big Cypress Swamp of Collier County, embracing 2400 square miles west of the Everglades is the largest of its kind in Florida. The buttress trunk of the Cypress has wide at its base for greater support and projecting into the air, sometimes at a considerable distance from the roots, are knees, believed to be of use in aerating the tree. Known to manufacturers as the wood eternal Cypress dates back to the Ice Age specimens excavated from ancient rock strata, are neither decayed nor petrified. Known also as the oldest living thing on the earth, containing an age of 6000 years, Cypress grows slowly thinning but an inch towards radius in 30 years. The Living patriarch of these trees in Florida is old Senator at Longwood, estimated to be 3500 years old. duckweed floating heart Sagittarian bonnets and bladder wart grow luxuriously in a shallow water and air plants thrive among the treetops. 

Spanish moss, of the pineapple family, the most conspicuous of the empathetic or air growing plants contrasting vividly with the fresh green and blue Cypress foliage, or the spider orchid with fragrant narrow petals large white flowers, shell orchid, with its showy larkspur like spike and the Chinse orchid bearing odd looking modeled flowers, great orchids. Some of them almost unbelievably huge, have been found in the Everglades. Expeditions from the New York Botanical Gardens have reported specimens with as many as 1000 blossoms. One estimated to be 500 years old is so large that for men were needed to lift it Amyx defined by J. K small the botanist dense groves of trees and shrubs, mostly broadleaved, sometimes occupying the whole circumscribe portions of a geological formation, or occurring as islands surrounded by pine woods. Prairie. 

Hammock soil is rich and humus and is arable when cleared the hardwood hammocks of northern Florida to bring vines of return wild grape and Spanish moss festoon cabbage palms magnolias and oaks. 

Florida's jungles are made up mostly of hardwood growths,  gums, bays and magnolias intertwined with tenacious creepers, hostile vines and bristling plants that bar passage one of the latter is the thorny, serious Pentagon Antigonus, which Charles Tory Simpson the naturalist has written. “I have abused it elsewhere, but it is sufficiently villainous to call for more condemnation. I cannot conceive how it would be possible to devise a more devilish plant. Frequently, it almost feels the vacant space in the forest thrusting its long life stems through the thickest growth and appearance in the most unexpected places. It stems maybe three or five angled each line with terrific spines an inch or more in life are so sharp and strong that they easily pierced the heaviest leather explore maybe ever so alert but is certain to run into dozens of that is equally short and carry a fine collection of its thorns, which have a vicious way of breaking off in the body”. 

To native rubber trees of the jungles or the salts so called strangling or strangler fig, and the shortleaf variety which resembles the Banyan of India. strangling fig derives its name from the fact that it often germinates on trunks and branches of other trees, sending down roots stems that encircle and eventually strangle the hollow strip. More than 100 ferns and plants closely related the ferns are found in the state. fronds of the largest tropical varieties are from 10 to 18 feet in length. The two great Fern areas in Florida. One is the West Central lime sink region. 

And the other in the extreme southern portion of the state. immense variety of rare, odd and beautiful plants has been introduced by the US plant introduction garden at Coconut Grove Miami by numerous private nurseries and by owners of private estates. purple and magenta bougainvillea and then Golden bougainvillea or Flame Vine embellish walls and gateways, edges and clusters of flowering Oleander cap and biscuits are seen everywhere. And rapid growing Australian pine (not a true pine) belongs to the same group as a European paradise plant.

Although not as sturdy as the native pine tree thrives in dry sandy soil and is seldom damaged by salt spray is tall, metrical and pointed importation of recent years used for windbreaks and street planting exotic fruits silk oaks and the feathery bamboo, the Jacaranda the poinsettia and the very gated crows are favorites, also among the cultivated trees and plants. 

With that we conclude this section of this of the guide to the southernmost state focusing on the plants in this day. 

In our next episode, we will touch on animal life. 

So thank you again for listening in to this episode of the sunshine Republic. 

We look forward to seeing you on the next episode. 

Thank you very much

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