IRMA-ed #2: Pines versus Oaks

The south Florida slash pines (Pinus elliottii var. densa) at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area fared well in Hurricane Irma. The needles of the pines remain bright green, un-scorched by the searing winds of Hurricane Irma that scalded the leaves of many oak trees, scrubs, herbaceous plants, vines, and even mangroves.

Lower limbs on some pines were “surrendered” to the storm, part of the natural pruning process of south Florida slash pines thought to be an adaptation that keeps fast-moving fires from compromising the crown of the pine. Some scientists consider this branch drop to be a pre-determined process of shedding branches called cladoptosis, something at which oaks excel.

Some slash pines shed some small branches, too …

… and many green pine cones are on the ground …

Fortunately, the slash pines stood strong, unlike in 2004 when Hurricane Jeanne felled many pines, including the “Awesome Pine”, then the National Champion south Florida slash pine show below in 2005.