Pin-striped Vermilion Slug… a very interesting name. When I first noticed this little thing crawling on the thorned stem it reminded me of a watermelon! This slug is about an inch long (I really need to start bringing my ruler with me) and has patches of stingy hairs on its back, only on the orange stripe, to protect itself from getting nabbed by any predators.
This is the larvae stage, slug caterpillar, of the Pin-stripe Vermilion Moth.
This is one of the cutest creatures I have encountered while out exploring and photographing nature. I do love the orange and green since that’s the color theme I selected for the magazine! Again, for me, nature always gives me the answers I seek.
I first saw this flower it was in the Withlacoochee State Forest working on an article about wildflowers. I didn’t take much notice then until I saw it at Big Pine. After taking a few macro shots of this flower it opened a whole new mystery!
I am fascinated by this flower, there is so much going on, such an interesting design. The tulip cupped that opens to have the anther expand, it’s amazing!
It was a little windy while I was taking photos, so it was hard to get a good macro shot. I would love to have a digital microscope to explore this flower in depth.
Scattered throughout the front section of Big Pine in Brooksville, the Glade Lobelia is a welcoming speck of color throughout the area.
The first collection of this plant was on October 16, 1965, in Hernando Beach.
The Glade Lobelia grows in wet areas, however, the habitat where I took these pictures was more upland pine. Which makes me curious as to why their stalk is so thick, maybe to retain water? This is just a guess. Maybe some more digging I can find out that answer.
One thing about the Glade Lobelia is there are always these white specks on the petals, could be pollen but I am not 100% sure. If I do find out I will update this post.
If you ever wanted to feel like you are in a fairy-tale-like forest, this is the flower to be around.
This is my top favorite native wildflower, just being around them make you feel like you are in this fairy-like wonderland. The way the petals curl and fray, they are just beautiful. The pink/lilac burst in color during their blooming stage and as they soak in more of the sun their colors blend to a soft pastel and then to white. This flower has an amazing transformation.
I have seen a few at Big Pine, but never as many as I saw yesterday. After a prescribed burn, around 4-6 months ago (time flies) these wildflowers just popped up out of nowhere.
That particular area FWC biologists, Matt Koenig, and Cliff Barga conducted a prescribed burn is filling up with Pine Hyacinth, and now is the best opportunity to photograph them.
There is another species of these flowers, called a Netleaf Leather-Flower. The leather flower has the same flower shape but is a vine.
Big Pine Tract is part of the Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area. The entrance is off of Old Crystal River Road in Brooksville. Be sure to sign in!
According to the Plant Atlas, the first documented species was in Hernando County in 1958 by George. R. Cooley, in the Chinsegut Hill area.