Compare & Contrast: Fellsmere Trailhead

Construction began in April of 2017 on the Central Railroad Corridor Greenway Pedestrian Overpass that traverses I-95.  It now is officially open and connects a 2-mile pedestrian path from the North County Regional Park to the Fellsmere Trailhead Preserve following the path of the historic railroad that once ran from Sebastian to Fellsmere. The pedestrian path eventually is slated to span the original 15-mile railroad route.

Easy access, parking, beautiful bathroom, interpretive displays, and a playground can be found at the Fellsmere Trailhead located on County Road 510 just west of I-95 …

The improved wide pedestrian path wends through pine flatwoods, freshwater wetlands, and vestiges of hammock.   

You will see many plants that you know from the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) and some that you don’t.  Overall this area is much wetter with a few blackwater wetlands.

Wetland plants that you well know from ORCA include red maple (Acer rubrum) …

… and Carolina willow (Salix caroliniana) …

…  and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

The moist conditions support epiphytes like southern needleleaf (Tillandisa setacea) …

… shoestring fern (Vittaria lineata) …

… and beautiful Florida butterfly orchid (Encyclia tampensis) …

  

Other familiar plants are redbay (Persea borbonia) including seedlings …

… wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) …

… and, of course, slash pines (Pinus elliottii), lyonias, tarflower, and other ericaceous plants found at ORCA.

Plants not found at ORCA include pickerelweed (Pontedaria sp.) …

… duck potato (Sagittaria sp.) …

Wet pine flatwoods plants not present at ORCA include peel bark St.-John’s wort (Hypericum fasciculatum) …

… musky mint (Hyptis alata) …

… and rosy camphorweed (Pluchea baccharis) …