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Category: Everglades Plants

Endangered Plants of the Everglades

Endangered Plants of the Everglades

One of our most beautiful and mysterious natural areas in the United States is changing. The Everglades is slowly losing some of its flora and fauna due to climate change and the encroachment of urban growth. If you wish to view the native plants of the area, such as the cactus tree, Krug’s holly, lignum-vitae, and manchineel, booking an airboat tour is a great way to experience these endangered species.

Endangered Palm Trees of the Everglades

The Brittle Thatch Palm (Thrinax morrisii) is a small palm with blue-green or yellow-green leaves that have a reflective white underside. The leaves are so tough, they were used to make roofs for thatches, hence their name.

Buccaneer palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii) is a lesser known variety that is cold-sensitive as well as slow growing. This variety is notable due to the extremes of nature in which it can survive, as it is drought and salt tolerant. The leaves are green, blue-green, or silver. In the wild, it can reach up to 25 feet tall.

Silver thatch palm (Coccothrinax argentata) has fan-shaped leaves that are green on the top and silver underneath. It is slow growing and can only tolerate the lightest of frost.

Florida thatch palm (Thrinax parvitolia) is a slower growing palm that reaches up to 30 feet. It has broad, yellowish-green leaves that can reach up to three feet in diameter. It blooms all year long, peaking in spring.

Endangered Exotic Trees and Plants of the Everglades

The Key tree-cactus (Pilosocereus robinii) is only found in southern Florida. When in bloom, the flower is large and white in color, and the fruit it produces is a purplish-red in color. This tree cactus can grow up to 32 feet high with a few arms or many.

Krug’s Holly (Ilex krugiana) is known for its interesting leaf shape. This tree can grow up to 55 feet in height having white flowers. Later it produces black, red, and purple berries that birds enjoy.

Lignum-vitae (Guaiacum sanctum) is a hardwood tree that is so dense the wood does not float. The tree flowers in the spring with small periwinkle flowers. It can mature up to 30 feet tall.

The manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella) is best left for viewing than to being touched, as it is known as one of the most dangerous trees in the world. It is an evergreen with green-yellow flowers that can grow up to around 50 feet tall. All parts of the tree are poisonous. Do not touch the sap or ingest the fruit, nicknamed beach apple and little apple of death.

Make Memories Viewing Endangered Species on An Airboat Tour

Spending a couple of hours on an airboat tour viewing the exciting wildlife, exotic orchids, beautiful trees, and feathery ferns is a lifelong memorable event. Cypress Outdoor Adventures is ready to take you on this excursion. Reserve your Everglades airboat tour in Fort Lauderdale today by phone (954-260-1096) or book online now.

Fun Facts About Spanish Moss Seen on an Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale

Fun Facts About Spanish Moss Seen on an Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale

Imagine the adventure of taking an airboat ride in Fort Lauderdale, deep into the stunningly beautiful Florida Everglades. Experience the sensation of traveling back in time as you glimpse an alligator breaking the water’s surface or catch the shadow of a great blue heron flying overhead.

Long, thick bundles of gray-green Spanish moss hang from cypress trees, filtering the sunlight like lace curtains. The moss shelters bats, reptiles, and amphibians. Birds gather it for their nests.

Spanish Moss – One of 16 Bromeliads Native to Florida

The plant known as Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, Family Bromeliaceae, is not a moss but rather a perennial herb, a type of bromeliad in the pineapple family and one of 16 bromeliads native to Florida. It is found throughout Florida and is often called Florida moss, possibly because the state has more of it than any other. It is also known as graybeard or long moss. It grows in the southeastern United States from Virginia to Texas and then as far south as Central America. Geographically, it is more widespread than any other bromeliad.

Well Adapted to the Climate of the Everglades

Tillandsia usneoides wraps its stems around other plants but does not take any nutrients from them. Instead, scales on this rootless epiphyte trap nutrients and water from the air. Although it thrives in moist environments like the Everglades, Spanish moss can survive dry conditions because of its ability to hold water. If your airboat ride is in the springtime, you may spot a single, fragrant flower on some of the plants. New plants grow from seeds or small pieces of the plant and spread when carried to a suitable location by wind or birds.

Commercial Uses of Spanish Moss – Past and Present

In the early 1900s, Spanish moss was collected by hand, then dried and baled. It was sold to be used as stuffing for mattresses, furniture, and automobile seats. Today it is used as mulch and is popular with florists who use it in design work and to decorate plants.

Experience the Everglades on an Airboat Ride

The best way to see the enchanting display of Spanish moss and other unique plants and animals that thrive in the Everglades is by airboat. Cypress Outdoor Adventures provides safe and enjoyable tours for guests of all ages. Call us today at 954-260-1096 to reserve your seat, and experience the Everglades in an unforgettable way.

Non-Native Plants Threatening the Everglades

Non-Native Plants Threatening the Everglades

The Florida Everglades are 1.5 million acre wetlands filled with hundreds of animal species. Unfortunately, this unique environment is being threatened by non-native plant species that invade the area and make it difficult for native plants and animals to flourish. On an Everglades tour in Fort Lauderdale, you may run across some of these problematic non-native plants.

Australian Pine (Casuarina equisetifolia)

This tree is a fast growing pine native to Asia and Australia. It produces very dense shade that makes it difficult for plants to grow underneath, and the chemicals in its leaves can inhibit the growth of other Everglades plants when they drop to the ground.

Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius)

Brazilian Pepper is tolerant to salt and resists fires, making it one of the most invasive plants in Florida. Its leaves produce irritant chemicals that cause rashes on human skin and kill off the native vegetation in the Everglades. The trees cluster together to form “monocultures” where no other plants can thrive.

Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia)

Melaleuca is a tree that was initially planted in Florida as a swamp drying plant, so it has a devastating effect on the Everglades. The trees grow in dense stands that displace native cypress and sawgrass trees.

Old World Climbing Fern (Lygodium microphyllum)

Originally introduced to Florida as an ornamental plant, this vine-like fern quickly spreads across the ground. It creates a blanket of greenery that can smother other plants, and its roots inhibit water flow through the wetlands. Spores can be spread by wind, making it even harder to control climbing fern growth.

Seaside Mahoe (Thespesia populnea)

Found originally in Africa and India, these trees have broad, heart-shaped leaves that block out the sun and keep other plants from growing below. Their seeds float on water, so the Seaside Mahoe manages to spread rapidly.

If you want to see this stunning natural environment before it changes further from invasive species, take an airboat Everglades tour in Fort Lauderdale on an airboat.

Touring by airboat allows you to see the flora and fauna of the Everglades up close and personal without disturbing the natural surroundings of the unique ecosystem. Call Captain Bill of Cypress Outdoor Adventures at 954-260-1096 to book your airboat tour and see all the natural beauty of the Everglades.

Top 5 Plants to Look for on Your Everglades Airboat Tour

Top 5 Plants to Look for on Your Everglades Airboat Tour

As the Everglades represents a convergence of multiple ecosystems and is located across a confluence of climate zones, it provides an opportunity to see tropical flora from the Caribbean alongside temperate North American plants. While on an Everglades tour, below are five plants to look for because of ecological importance, oddness, or iconic status.

Sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense)

The Everglades’ nickname, “River of Grass,” comes from the abundance of this plant. However, sawgrass is not a grass; it is a member of the sedge family. These plants support many ecosystem processes in the Everglades and are frequently utilized by alligators as a nest material.

Giant Airplant (Tillandsia utriculata)

This pineapple-crown-like bromeliad is an epiphyte, a non-parasitic plant that usually grows on other plants. A single giant airplant may hold up to 1 liter of water in its leaf axils, making it an important resource to many invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles in the area.

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

This is not a moss; it is a close relative of the above-mention giant airplant. Tangled masses of this epiphyte seen growing among branches of Everglade trees are actually colonies comprised of thousands of individual plants.

Soldierwood (Colubrina elliptica)

One may think this tree got its common name from patterns on its bark, which resemble modern military camouflage. However, the name goes back to the days of musket warfare. In dispersing seeds, the ripe fruit of this tree will explode, sounding like musket fire.

Cockspur (Pisonia aculeate)

This should be on your list of plants to look for, not only because it is interesting, but it is also a plant you don’t want to bump into. The tree-like stem of this massive vine is replete with long, sharp thorns adorned with more long, sharp thorns. Another name for this nightmarish plant is the catchbirdtree, as its sticky fruits will adhere to birds, entangling them and leading to their slow demise.

See More Plants on an Airboat Everglades Tour in Fort Lauderdale

For an exciting Everglades tour in Fort Lauderdale, contact Captain Bill, owner of Cypress Outdoor Adventures at 954-260-1096 today! We will take you around the Everglades for a close look at fascinating plants, as well as the diverse wildlife such as .