Archives for the month of: May, 2015



Helenium flexuosum

Hebr, Perennial

Native, L48  (predominant in SE US)

Blooming: May, June, yellow

Major identification markers, reddish disk flowers and decurrent (winged) stems.    This is the first time since 2011 we have seen this plant, which is common on this creek, bloom in May.  It will take root in even small areas such as a partially submerged log with some soil.  It seems to prefer sunlight.







Nerodia fasciata


Adults average 24-41 inches; the record is 60 inches.  May have black, brown or red crossbands across back, usually bordered with black.  In the older snakes these crossbands may not be a pronounced as the snake darkens with age. Background color may be gray, yellow, tan or reddish.    “Belly is light colored with squarish spots.  Scales are keeled and there are 21-25 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round.  A dark stripe extends from the eye to the angle of the jaw.  Juveniles have very clear crossbands (usually black) on pale background.” (Source:  Florida Museum of Natural History, UFL.)

Range:  In Florida, the Panhandle, extending up the coastal plain to North Carolina and west to southwestern Alabama.

Habitat:  Nearly all freshwater habitats, including ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and marshes.

Though not venomous, “when threatened, the Banded Water Snake will readily bite and exude a foul smelling musk.”

“Active mainly a night, but may be found during the day sunning on banks or vegetation hanging over the water.”

Food: fishes, frogs, salamanders, crayfish and tadpoles.

Mating:  Spring.

Birthing:  bears live young, around 7.5-9.5 inches long in summer.



Amblycorypha oblongifolia

Male nymph.

Green is the most common color of this species, but it can also be pink and tan (rare), or dark tan or orange (both very rare).  The color determined by genes and remains constant from birth through adulthood.











Asclepias perennis Walter

Forb/herb, perennial

Native, lower 48

Blooming: May, June

Flower color:  white

Milky sap may be irritant to some people.

Larval host to monarch, queen and soldier butterfly.  Attracts other pollinators. Unlike most other plants, Asclepias has pollinia or pollen sacs which has five slits in each flower.  The base of the pollinia attach to the insects such that the pollen sacs can be pulled free when the insect flies off.  An insect too small to exert sufficient pulling force may be trapped.  Native honey bees are trapped and die in these slits.

Three defensive qualities limit caterpillar damage:  hairs on leaves, cardenolide toxins and latex fluids.

Perennis does not disperse by wind, rather its seed pods burst and is dispersed by water.