Archives for category: April

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Dioscorea villosa

Forb/herb; perennial

Native

Blooming:  April, May

The vines are noticeable in the lower part of Womack Creek, competing with other vine plants for sunshine.

The photos are that of a male plant as distinguished by its flowers.

This is not to be confused with the edible yam.  The roots are not fleshy and are narrow & dry.  The root itself contains diosgenin, a phytoestrogen which can be chemically converted to hormone progesterone.  The raw phytoestrogen in the root when consumed in its various forms does not seem to release progesterone — this has to be processed chemically.

Dioscorea villosa has a history of being used medicinally.  It was prescribed by herbalists for menstrual cramps, ostereoporosis, for lessening post-menopausal hot-flashes,  for upset stomach and coughs.

Wild yam natural medication is sold in liquid or powder (as tablets or capsules).  It may be combined with other herbs such as black cohosh which have estrogen-like effects.  As in all natural health products, it should be under supervision of a physician since there are risks when used with pharmaceuticals and for those with certain health problems.

Source:  U of Maryland, Medical Center

 

 

 

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Rainlily bud at 10am, Womack Creek campground landing.

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Rainlily blossom, almost completely eaten by eastern lubbers by 3:30 pm that same day.

Zephyrantes atamasca

Forb/herb. perennial

Native:  lower 48/threatened-FL

Blooming:  April, May

Though a threatened species in Florida, this species is apparently easy to cultivate in home landscapes.  They are spectacular in mass plantings where there is a very large field of them in the Joe Budd Wildlife Management Area along the Little River,  which enters Lake Talquin in Gadsden County,  and smaller areas along Crooked River in Tate’s Hell State Forest from the Ocklockonee west to Rocky Landing Campground/boat landing. The Atamasca lilies on Womack Creek were first noticed blooming this year.

The lower photographs show a rain lily which was a bud at 10am one morning at the Womack Creek landing (put-in).  When photographed again at take-out at the same location, eastern lubber grasshoppers had made a meal of most of the blooming flower.

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Romalea microptera (Romalea guttata)

Size: adult female 50-70mm (2-2.8″), males 43-55mm (1.7-2.2″)

Location: Southeastern US, broad range in low, wet areas in pastures and woods and along ditches.  In north Florida from about March to November.

Food:  broad variety, but prefers broad-leafed plants.  Polyphagous — eats small amounts of a large variety of plants.  In Florida can create problems in citrus groves, vegetable plots and landscape ornamentals.

Life cycle:  One generation per year, with eggs over wintering (this stage can be as long as 8 months), egg laying begins about one month after reaching adult hood, usually the summer months.  Eggs are deposited in soil located in drier areas although adults prefer damp or wet habitats.

Predators:  tachinid fly (Anisia serotina).   Most birds and lizards avoid these insects, except loggerheard shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus) will capture them, impale and cache the grasshoppers on barbed wire and return when the toxins have degraded.

Generally the adult is dull yellow color, but in North Florida adults remain black.

The common name describes the walking and crawling behaviour of the grasshopper.  “Lubber” is from an old English word meaning lazy or clumsy.  Novice seamen were called “landlubbers”.

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Lyssomanes viridis

Size:  females 7-8-mm (2.8-3.1 inch), males 6-8mm (2,4-3.1 inch)

Range:  throughout Florida, from spring to early autumn

Habitat:  woodlands, on broad leaf evergreens (e.g. magnolias, bays) and live oak.

Food:  aphids, mites, ants, other plant insects and other jumping spiders

The photo above seems to be that of a female.

P1020571P1020565P1020574Mitchella repens

Forb/Herb, Perennial

Native, L48, C

A small ground cover partridgeberry flowers always comes in pairs, sharing a single calyx.  Each flower in a pair differ:  one has a longer pistil and a shorter stamen, the other a shorter pistil and a longer stamen to prevent self-fertilization.  The berries which are red when mature require that both flowers in a pair must be fertilized.

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Osmunda cinnamomea

forbe/herb, perennial

Native:  Canada, PR, L 48

Frond development: April

Location:  Nick’s Road primitive camp site, along Womack creek

Cinnamon ferns thrive after being burned in managed burns, and may colonize after a fire.  In the everglades, however, ferns growing in areas not subject to burning are thicker than in areas which have been burned.

In southeastern NC, while still young, cinnamon ferns are the second choice to cane, of foraging cattle.  White tailed deer in SE Virginia have been seen grazing on the fronds.  The leaves are not consider palatable to animals.

The area where this stand of ferns was photographed was with 6 months subject to a managed burn.  The photo was taken in mid May, 2014.

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Carex atlantica ssp capillacea

Monocot

Perennial; Native to L 48 & Canada

Height:  18 inches at maturity; maximum height about 20 inches

Blooming:   March

Reproduction:  Seeds in early summer

pH tolerance:  4.5 – 6

Location:  N 30 00.417 W 084 33.838 (2.3 RR)

Salinity tolerance:  low

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Libellula vibrans

Either female or immature male

Habitats:  ponds, slow streams and especially swamps

Frequency:  common April, May, June, July, August, September

Behaviour:  unwary

Information from Giff Beaton, Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast.

 

 

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Salvia Lyrata

Forb/herb, perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  March, April, blue

Pollinated and visited by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Seeds eaten by gold finches.

Called cancer weed because of its medicinal use by Native Americans and early settlers.   Use for treatment of asthma, colds, coughs, colds, diarrhoea and constipation.  Fresh leaves applied to warts and an ointment made from leaves and seeds for wounds and sores.

Location:  Nick’s Road primitive campsite.

 

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Ardea herodias

Family:  Ardeidae

Great blue herons can be seen throughout Tate’s Hell, in the rivers, creeks and ditches along the roads that crisscross the forest.   These are large, elegant birds with blue-gray backs, black sides and gray and white striped bellies.  The heron’s has a white face, cap and black crest on its head.  The juvenile is duller color and without a crest.  White and intermediate phases occur in Florida.  Great Blues are easily recognized in flight by 6-foot wind span and neck folded into an “S”.

Great blues can be found anywhere in the continental US and southern portions of Canada.   Though they are migratory birds, they can be seen in Florida throughout the year.  Their preferred habitats include lakes, ponds, rivers and marshes.  They lay two to seven pale blue or blue green eggs on a shallow platform of sticks lined with finer material, usually in a tree, but sometimes on the ground or concealed in a reed bed.  They often nest in colonies.  The eggs incubate from 25 to 30 days and both adults share in the sitting.  The average life span is 15 years.

They are carnivorous and eat fish, frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, shrimps, crabs, crayfish, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other aquatic insects.  They forage while wading, of belly deep, impaling prey with their sharp bills.  They are active day and night.

The great blue heron in Womack Creek is particularly skittish and therefore we have not been able to get closer to the bird, unlike other places where it is fairly easy to get close enough to great blues while paddling.  All photographs on this blog are all taken on Womack Creek so until we are able to get closer to the bird(s), this photo will have to suffice.

Most of the information is from iBird PRO, a great I-touch application for bird ID.