Recent Happenings

Sandhill Wildflower Hike in the Time of COVID

On September 26th ten members of the Sarracenia Chapter enjoyed a two hour hike through recently burned sandhill habitat. The site, near Medart, Wakulla County, is part of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Advance planning allowed for appropriate physical distancing. When species of note were encountered, they were marked with colored flags so participants could get a close-up look with plenty of free elbow room.

Hikers included newly retired folks making their first visit to this habitat type, long-time chapter members, and owners of sandhills of their own, familiar with the flora and maintenance of this habitat. The pace was a comfortable stroll on a beautiful, dry, not-too-hot morning. In addition to the characteristic scattered pines and oaks, we saw well over three dozen wildflower species, all in flower or fruit. Stands of blooming blazing-star were most impressive, including the endemic and endangered Godfrey’s blazing-star (Liatris provincialis) in patches like one shown below. We learned about wiregrass, seedling long-leaf pine, and the importance of frequent fire in sandhills. Retired university mycologist Tom Dolan contributed mushroom identification and ecology tips.

Rebecca Dolan and David Roddenberry

Photos: Godfrey's blazing star, David Roddenberry; American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and lanceleaf blanketflower (Gaillardia aestivalis), Rebecca Dolan





Sarracenia's Bonnie Basham Takes the Reins as President of FNPS


Sarracenia's own Bonnie Basham became president of FNPS, with its 37 chapters through the length and breadth of Florida, in the general meeting of 2020 held online on June 6. Bonnie had been made president-elect in the FNPS general meeting in May 2019 after serving for two years as Sarracenia's president. We look forward to a rare privilege of frequent in-person association with her in her two years now underway as FNPS president. Bonnie is pictured above in her gardens in Leon County.



Bob Thompson and camera go to Apalachicola Nat. Forest for 2020 spring wildflowers -- gallery below -- all images courtesy of Bob






2-15-20 Field Trip - Horn Springs, Leon Co.














With the gracious help of the Florida Park Service, and splendid weather, Sarracenia took to the field for a journey to Horn Springs ---a feature set in a tract of nearly 2,000 acres recently added to Natural Bridge Battlefield State Park. The spring (its pool pictured below) is second magnitude, contributing an appreciable part of the flow of the nearby St. Marks River. We botanized, of course, with the aid of Park Service biologists. Among the plant features were specimens of the green-fly orchid (Epidendrum conopseum) and some very large bald cypresses (Taxodium distichum). Among the tree constituency of the relatively undisturbed, swampy floodway of the River are Florida elms (Ulmus americana) like the one to whose impressive "curtain" buttresses the group was drawn in another photo below.      Photos by Kitty Loftin































11-10-19 Field Trip: Wakulla Springs State Park, forest and big tree walk with George Apthorp



11-3-19 Field Trip - Ochlockonee Bay Bicycle Trail - Blooms and Bikes

Our November 3, 2019, field trip was conducted jointly with the Magnolia Chapter and the Joyride Bicycle Collective. It  was a leisurely bike ride along Surf Road on Wakulla County's Ochlockonee Bay Bicycle Trail to view the wildflower and native plant highlights of the trail. There were many stops along the trail to view wildflowers in detail.  You will see one of the favorite native wildflowers below, the Florida Tickseed (Coreopsis floridana).

Coreopsis floridana

Blooms for Bikes - Ochlockonee Bay Bike Trail



Sarracenia Chapter field trip Sep. 21, 2019, St. Marks NWR

The end-of-summer field trip visited three sites in the Panacea Unit of the Refuge ---one a pine flatwoods site, one in sandhills, and one in transition to hammock. Wildflowers of interest were flowering in diversity in each place. They included three Florida endemics of extremely small range: the asters Godfrey's blazing star (Liatris provincialis) and zigzag goldenaster (Pityopsis flexuosa) and the legume "scareweed" (Baptisia simplicifolia). The party also walked up on a plant never before recorded for the Refuge or Wakulla County ---netleaf leather-flower (Clematis reticulata). The species is now in the books for the Refuge and the County.

Here's a photo slideshow you may enjoy from the field trip.

Powered by flickr embed.



New Sarracenia Chapter Website Launched

In August 2019 the Chapter, with the assistance of the Florida Native Plant Society's communication chair, inaugurated this website to replace the old. There are many upgrades we think you'll like.


Passing the Torch

The Sarracenia Chapter president 2017–2019, Bonnie Basham, was voted in May 2019 as president-elect of the Florida Native Plant Society, and has stepped down a month early from the Chapter presidency. Bonnie had led Sarracenia through considerable development and advancement, and will become FNPS president in May 2020. Meanwhile, in Sarracenia’s regular elections in April 2019, David Roddenberry was elected to succeed Bonnie as Chapter president. Thus he has now taken the helm a month early. David previously served as Sarracenia president for the five years 2010–2015, and has served as vice-president for the past year.





June 22, 2019, Field Trip -- Apalachicola Nat. Forest, Liberty County

On The Ground in a Hotspot


Sarracenia’s latest field trip was the June 22 outing in the pine flatwoods and wet savannas of Apalachicola National Forest around Sumatra, Liberty County. It’s a biodiversity hotspot. As usual, the Chapter invited participation by the Magnolia Chapter and the public, but this time it also invited the neighboring FNPS chapter to the west —Sweetbay. The party in the field had members of the three chapters.

The Florida endemic and endangered “white birds in a nest” (the mint Macbridea alba, pictured above) was on splendid display. Chapman’s milkwort (Polygala chapmanii, below), a bit more reclusive, was also ferreted out by the group on another savanna, and pineland false sunflower (Phoebanthus tenuifolius, not pictured) presented abundantly in the pine flatwoods.


Volunteering for Florida's Native Plants and Public Lands

Major assistance by the Sarracenia Chapter has attended each step as the small City of Sopchoppy (Wakulla County’s largest) has gone the native way in the 2018-19 landscaping of its new Depot Park. On two planting Saturdays in November 2018, after the City’s large expenditure for native-plant nursery stock, Chapter members and many other citizens turned out. They installed some 575 individual native plants, ranging from trees like longleaf pine and southern magnolia to herbs like Coreopsis and milkweeds, following a professional landscape design.

Above: By August 2019, starry rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus), tall ironweed (Vernonia angustifolia), butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), and southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) reward all the effort

Mayor Lara Edwards provided the impetus for the native motif and reached out to Sarracenia. The Chapter’s Lynn Artz, former Wakulla County Commissioner and champion of native landscaping at several County-owned sites previously, took up the challenge to marshal various forces for the Sopchoppy project. Chapter leaders, with use of their experience and the plant-finder tool on the FNPS website, provided a list of nearly 50 candidate species of native trees, shrubs, vines, and herbs appropriate to the site. Ms. Edwards, Ms. Artz, and Sarracenia leaders held a series of meetings with local landscape designer Betsy Smith to vet species and envision the layout.

Among noteworthy features of the gardens is the use of several Florida-endemic species whose extremely small global ranges happen to include the Sopchoppy vicinity, and the use of six milkweed species.

Below: L-R, Sarracenia's Pam Pafford, chapter president Bonnie Basham, Wakulla County Comm. Dr. Chuck Hess, David Roddenberry, and Jeannie Brodhead, joined by FNPS president Dr. Susan Carr (2nd from R) and Sopchoppy mayor Lara Edwards (R) pose for the camera of Sarracenia's Sandy Tedder soon after the planting



April 27, 2019, Field Trip -- SMNWR Wakulla Unit

Our April 2019 field trip in the St. Marks Nat Wildlife Refuge - Wakulla Unit was well attended and provided a rich array of native plants and wildflowers.  One of the highlights of the trip was the bog of pitcherplants, Sarracenia minor pictured above. 



Published on  August 11th, 2019