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

Adventitious

Tall cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto) form a canopy along the St. Sebastian River at the South Prong Slough where we visited on 5/15/2022. Long ago these palms shed their boots (bases of old leafstems), as all cabbage palms do as…

Bitter Pecan

Water hickory, swamp hickory, and bitter pecan are all common names for Carya aquatica, a large, deciduous tree of floodplain forests. It ranges from southern central Florida to the eastern Carolinas and westward to eastern Texas. We saw this tree…

Fern Friday: Downy Maiden

Downy maiden fern (Thelypteris dentata) was volunteering along the foundation of the Ryall house at the South Prong Slough when we visited on 5/15/2022. Also known as downy shield fern, this attractive tropical/subtropical fern is naturalized throughout Florida, including along…

South Prong Stroll

In 2006 Indian River County purchased 10 acres on the south prong of the St. Sebastian River for conservation and public enjoyment. Known as the Ryall property for its former owner, this property includes a house that will be home…

Easter Holly?

Hollies, we expect, to have red berries at Christmas-time. Gallberry (Ilex glabra) is a holly that has black fruits. The fruits often persist throughout the winter and into spring. Ultimately, they are eaten by migratory birds. When we visited Osprey…

Great Southern White

As a few of us lingered at the end of our walk at Coastal Oaks Preserve, a somewhat tattered great southern white butterfly (Ascia monuste) was sipping nectar from two nearby native plants, oakleaf fleabane (Erigeron quercifoliius) … … and…

Pretty Pepperweed

Virginia pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum) was lush and lovely at the Coastal Oaks Preserve when we visited on 2/26/2022. Native from southern Canada through most of the U.S. to central America, this wildflower can be weedy elsewhere and in its native…