Archives for the month of: February, 2014
P1060823

February 9, 2014

Tillandsia bartramii

Monocot/Bromeliaceae

Fort-herb/Perennial

Native:  Lower 48, Puerto Rico

Blooming:  March, April, pink, purple

Location:  RR N 30 00 150′ W 84 32 972′

Epiphytes (air plants)  grow on other plants, such as trees, but they do not parasitize the host plant, using it mainly for support.   The root structure is very efficient in absorbing water and nutrients which come in contact with them, especially from rain.  There are sufficient dissolved nutrients in rain, as low as these might be.  They do not tolerate fertilization.

All Tillandsias are flowering.  Bartram’s airplant has pink flowering stalks and purple “petals”.  Seeds are equipped with “wings” which enable them to air-float to another tree to begin new life.

While they are prolific on trees on southern tributaries of the Apalachicola River, this is the first sighting of Bartram’s airplant on this creek.

P1060784

February 9, 2014

Anhinga anhinga

Family:  darter

The anhinga commonly seen in our waters is one of two Anhinga species found in the US.   In Florida it can be found year round.

Unlike ducks which can waterproof its feathers with oil produced by the uropygial gland, anhinga feathers can become waterlogged, necessitating it to dry its feathers — the characteristic open-spread of wings while perched.  The inability to waterproof its feathers allows it to dive and stay submerged for a longer period of time.

The male anhinga is black with silver/white feathers on its wings.  Females have a buff-tan neck.   During mating season the male’s eyes are encircled in blue.  Mating occurs in February.   Egg laying occurs between spring and early summer in nest 15 feet high on trees along bodies of water.

The anhinga can be differentiated from the similar looking double-crested cormorant by its wider tail and its pointed bill.  The bill of the cormorant is hooked.