Explore Nature ...

Nature is everywhere … Enhance your understanding of the plants, insects, animals & complex interactions by reading about the ORCA & other natural areas.

Bees Love Bidens

European honeybees (Apis mellifera), native bees, and other pollinators love common begarticks (Bidens alba). This native but weedy annual wildflower grows throughout the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) in sunny disturbed spots. A member of the daisy family, Asteraceae, common…

Lovely Lichen

At a quick glance it looks like a white paint ball blotch, but it is not. With its white brightness, wreath lichen (Cryptothecia striata) stands out on the trunks of lancewood (Nectandra coriacea) on the east-west trail that leads away…

Whisk Brush, Anyone?

Whisk fern (Psilotum nudum) is on infrequently found growing at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA), usually as an epiphyte. Karen Schuster (Class of 2008) spotted it growing on the adventitious roots on the trunk of a cabbage palm tree…

Holly Jolly

Dahoon holly (Ilex cassine var. cassine) is a small tree that grows in moist, freshwater spots at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) on both the north and south side of Oslo Road. It shown below at south ORCA in…

Early Bird Flower

Forked bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum) flowers open early in the day. That’s when the beautiful blue flowers are erect with long curled Its stamens (male parts) and styles (female parts). Its lower petals are distinctively spotted to “direct” bees where to…

Diversity Matters

Diversity matters – at least to monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are the larval host plants for monarch butterfly. Pictured above along Oslo Road is a monarch butterfly nectaring on scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), a non-native, commercially available…

Beautiful Butterfly Pea

Spurred butterfly pea (Centrosema virginianum) is a perennial herbaceous vine that is occasionally found growing at Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) and is pictured above engulfing bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus) at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (PINWR). Sometimes you will…