It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Spring is in the air and the insects are out and about!

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Golden Tortoise Beetle | Alice Mary Herden | April 8

Check out this lovely couple… sharing some quality time together. They have an amazing metallic golden/copper color that glistens in the sunlight. Super small, not even a half an inch.

It would be very interesting to photograph or even better to video them while when they transform into their defensive colors, red with black spots.


Learn more:

https://cornerofthecabinet.com/2014/08/26/invertebrate-of-the-week-8-golden-tortoise-beetle-charidotella-sexpunctata/

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/potato/golden_tortoise_beetle.htm


 

 

 

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Pine Hyacinth

If you ever wanted to feel like you are in a fairy-tale-like forest, this is the flower to be around.

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Pine Hyacinth | March 30 | Alice Mary Herden

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.

Pine Hyacinth | March 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Pine Hyacinth | March 28 | Alice Mary Herden

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.

Pine Hyacinth | March 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Pine Hyacinth | March 28 | Alice Mary Herden

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.


Links:

https://flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-clematis-baldwinii/

https://fnps.org/assets/pdf/pubs/clematis_baldwinii_pine-hyacinth_3_0.pdf

 

Brambles

Two known brambles in Florida are the Southern Dewberry and Blackberry

The Southern Dewberry has a beautiful pink shaded flower and is more of a ground vine.

Southern Dewberry | February 27 | Alice Mary Herden
Southern Dewberry | February 27 | Alice Mary Herden @ Chassahowitzka WMA
Southern Dewberry | February 27 | Alice Mary Herden
Southern Dewberry | February 27 | Alice Mary Herden @ Chassahowitzka WMA

The wild blackberries have smaller greener leaves, flowers petals are shaped differently and the plant itself is bushier.

Wild Blackberry | March 8 | Alice Mary Herden
Wild Blackberry | March 8 | Alice Mary Herden @ Chinsegut WEA

Brambles are prickly shrubs, and a favorite food source for wildlife like bears, deer, and birds. Beware, snakes are known to seek shelter amongst the thickets.

If you hang out around the blooms it can be a great opportunity to photograph a wide variety of insects.


Links:

http://www.floridaorienteering.org/nature/blackberries.htm