White indigo berry

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White indigo berry (Randia aculeata) was full of fruit in the low-lying areas of the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area on the 1/30/2016 volunteer nature stewardship walk. Like many tropical plants, this hammock native flowers and fruits throughout the entire year often ignoring The seasons.

This plant can be difficult to identify when it is not in fruit or flower due to its great variability. Do note the distinctive clear midrib and spatulate leaves.

Its tiny, five-petaled white flowers could be overlooked, but its white fruits stand out.

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Fruits ripen from green to white. As the fruits mature the indigo colored pulp inside begins┬áto “peek out. Sometimes, fruits will turn┬ácompletely dark indigo blue. Most often, though, the fruits are consumed by birds and other wildlife before taking on this dark coloration.

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Its habit in hammock shade often is quite open and sprawling. In sunny locations, the foliage and form is much more compact.

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Darling Daisies for Dry Places

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Narrowleaf silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia) is wonderful late summer and fall wildflower of dry places with bright yellow daisy-like flowers. Its dime- or nickel-sized flowers grow at the very ends of its flower stalks and are visited by a plethora of pollinators. Its dry ‘fruits’ known as achenes are eaten by birds.
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Its fabulous foliage is a striking silvery color and grass-like, as its misleading common name, silkgrass, suggests.
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Its species name, graminifolia, also refers to its grass-like foliage, which is a favorite food of gopher tortoises. The grass family – now known by the term Poaceae – once was called Graminaceae. From its daisy-like flowers, you know that this pretty plant must be a member of the aster family, Asteraceae.
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Narrowleaf silkgrass is flourishing at the south Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, as the roller-chopping performed for fire safety this winter has opened up large sunny areas. This plant sometimes will form small, showy mats and could be an excellent landscape plant in a very dry & sunny location.
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Itch Remedy ?

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A hiker in an Oregon forest wrote to the People’s Pharmacy about the use of the juice of crushed bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) to ease the itch of ant and mosquito bites. The People’s Pharmacy referenced the use of this plant by the aboriginal people of Australia for ‘mozzie bites’. Please note that the fern pictured on the People’s Pharmacy website is NOT bracken fern.
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Braken fern is the only species in this genus, though dozens of varieties are found throughout the world, including north America, tropical America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Our variety is caudatum: Pteridium aquilinum var. caudatum. Bracken fern grows in a variety of conditions and is pictured above at Cypress Bend Community Preserve.

This fern can be somewhat ‘weedy’, as shown in the picture below taken in 2010 on the hammock trail at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area by Nancy Soucy (Class of 2010) …
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This fern can grow to be quite large, as you can see from Nancy Soucy’s photo of Judy Avril (Class of Fall of 1999) …
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Braken fern grows in far sunnier and drier locations than most ferns and is shown here in the sandy scrub at the North Sebastian Conservation Area …
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The recent arrival of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus, is one more recent to protect yourself from mosquito bites (in addition to St. Louis encephalitis, West Nile encephalitis, and dengue fever).

Pretty Pink Poof

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Sunshine mimosa (Mimosa strigilosa) – in the right spot – can serve as a substitute for lawn grass, as shown in this photo from Carol Thomas, a member of the Eugenia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society who works at the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory …
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Sunshine mimosa grows low, produces pretty pink ‘poofs’ about the size of a nickel, and co-mingles well with lawn grasses, responding to regular moving with shortened flower stalks …
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A member of the pea family (Fabaceae), this plant fixes nitrogen — as well as has wildlife value: It attracts pollinators and is a larval food source for the little sulphur butterfly. The Florida Nursery Growers Association named it to be their plant of the year in 2008.