Amazing to see to beautiful berries remaining on native plants scorched by the searing winds of Hurricane Irma at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA). Pictured above is beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and slightly scorched wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa). The wild coffee along the Herb Kale Nature Trail as you enter ORCA was absolutely unscathed.
Hurricanes are a capricious and defining factor in Florida’s natural — and human — history. In his 1971 book, The Trees of South Florida, Volume 1: The Natural Environments and Succession, Frank C. Craighead, the very first section is about Hurricanes. Since its acquisition for preservation and public enjoyment, ORCA has been impacted by 4 hurricanes: Devastating “Sister” Storms France & Jeanne in 2004, Hurricane Matthew in 2015, and, most recently, Hurricane Irma on 9-10-2017.
A storm of short duration, Hurricane Matthew stayed off-shore in our area, moved swiftly and left a more open tree canopy. Hurricane Irma, a massive storm that engulfed the entire state, brought strong and sustained salty winds that scorched foliage significantly.
The native plants already are beginning to recover. They are the plants that have co-evolved here, along with hurricanes, and show amazing storm resilience.