High & Dry at Cypress Bend Community Preserve

Inches matter!

In Florida, a slight change in elevation can bring a dramatic change in plant community.  This phenomenon is evident at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) and was obvious at the Cypress Bend Community Preserve (CBCP) when we visited, most recently on 10-27-2018.

Grapefruits were grown on the preponderance (+43 of 47.25 acres) of the CBCP property.  Only a small remnant of the xeric sand pine scrub, shown above, remains intact.  Present are many of the plants that are found in dry places at ORCA including narrowleaf silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia) that was full of flowers and seed.

Both preserves, not surprisingly, are home to 3 species of scrub oaks:  Sand live oak (Quercus geminata), myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia), and chapman oak (Quercus chapmanii).  Also present at both preserves are a number of plants in the acid-loving heath family, Ericaceae.

Coastalplain staggerbush (Lyonia fruticosa) is found at both preserves.   This plant is easily identified by the rust-colored hairs on its terminal growth.

Interestingly, fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), which is common at the ORCA, was not present at the CBCP.  Just one of many curiosities of Nature.