Updated Burn Map from FWC

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission updated their burn map for Split Oak Forest to correspond with their two June burns from this year that resulted in the well-documented profusion of ground orchids.

Many-Flowered Grass Pink (Calopogon multiflorus) by Craig Duddles

These orchids depend on fire to flower, and are so rare that the State of Florida has them listed as Threatened.

Our excellent local managers of Split Oak Forest got in two burns this year before a FWC put a moratorium in place. Hopefully this moratorium will be lifted for the upcoming fire season.

October Flower is a bit early, hm?

During my August 13th hike with the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) employees and their consultants we walked around Lake Two, where I noticed a small scrubby-looking plant with white flowers. Peering down at the plant revealed a mass of delicate flowers.

October Flower (or Jointweed) flowers up close in Split Oak Forest near Lake Two

October Flower (Polygonella polygama), also known as Jointweed or Showy Jointweed, is a locally abundant plant that likes it dry. It’s a native member of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae), which means it smells lovely. It can be found throughout the southeast.

Ten days after my hike, recent visitors to the park have reported that it is flowering en masse along the sides of the trail and makes a striking impression.

My observation is the first iNaturalist record for October Flower in Split Oak, though it was previously documented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

See also

Huegel, Craig. 2010-08-27. October Flower – Polygonella polygama. Blog: Florida Native Wildflowers

MH Sub I, LLC. 2018. October Flower, Showy Jointweed. Webpage: Dave’s Garden

Cook, Will. 2015-07-11. Common October-flower. Webpage: Carolina Nature

Florida Native Plant Society. 2018. Polygonella polygama. Webpage: Florida Native Plant Society

New Species Finds – mid-August to mid-September 2018

Current Species County in iNaturalist: 574
iNaturalist Species Count August 15: 555

Twenty four new species to report!

New Endangered Plants

Eulophia ecristata Giant Orchid by Bryan Ames (found previously by FWC but first find in iNaturalist!)
Pinguicula lutea Yellow Butterwort by Danny Goodding (found March 17, 2018 but I must have missed it!)

New Herps

Hyla femoralis Pine Woods Tree Frog by Valerie Anderson (found July 8 but not positively identified until August 29, was on FWC list)
Hyla squirella Squirrel Tree Frog by Stacy Klema (was on FWC list but hadn’t been found yet!)
Pseudacris ocularis Little Grass Frog (found during the BioBlitz by Danny Goodding)

New Wildflowers

Crotalaria pumila Low Rattlebox by Valerie Anderson (found on March 13, 2018 but I must have missed it!)
Elephantopus elatus Tall Elephant’s Foot by Bryan Ames
Lobelia paduosa White Lobelia by Bryan Ames (not on FWC list and first iNaturalist record for Osceola County!!)
Liatris tenuifolia Shortleaf Blazing Star by Stacy Klema (not on FWC list)
Mimosa quadrivavis Fourvalve Mimosa by Valerie Anderson (not on FWC list)
Physostegia purpurea Eastern False Dragonhead by Dave Wegman
Polygonella polygama October Flower by Valerie Anderson
Sabatia difformis Lanceleaf Rose Gentian by Mary Keim (found July 14th but I must have missed it!)
Solidago odora var. chapmanii Chapmna’s Goldenrod by Stacy Klema
Toxicodendron radicans Eastern Poison Ivy by Valerie Anderson (not that you want to find this!)
Vigna luteola Hairypod Cowpea by Stacy Klema (not on FWC list)

New Trees

Quercus nigra Water Oak by Valerie Anderson

New Butterflies and Moths

Datana ministra Yellow-Necked Catepillar Moth by Valerie Anderson (not on FWC list)
Papilio polyxenes Black Swallowtail by Laura Bennet-Kimble (found on May 5th but I didn’t notice. Sorry Laura!)

New Insects

Megatibicen resonans Resonant Cicada by Stacy Klema
Polistes fuscatus Dark Paper Wasp by Stacy Klema
Trichodes ornatus Ornate Checkered Beetle by Stacy Klema
Trigonopeltastes delta
Delta Flower Scarab by travis-

New Fungi

Tylopilus felleus Bitter Bolete by Stacy Klema

Most Wanted Plants (on FWC list or seen nearby)

Agalinis fasciculata Beach False Foxglove (not on FWC list)
Agalinis filifolia Seminole False Foxglove
Amphicarpaea bracteata
American Hogpeanut (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Apios americana
Groundnut (not on FWC list, likely)
Asclepias curtisii
Curtis’s Milkweed (not on FWC list)
Asemeia grandiflora
Showy Milkwort*
Amphicarpum muhlenbergianum
Blue Maidencane
Aristida palustris
Longleaf Threeawn
Asimina angustifolia
Slimleaf Pawpaw
Bacopa caroliniana Carolina Water-Hyssop
Boehmeria cylindrica
False Nettle (not on FWC list, likely)
Calopogon tuberosus tuberosus
Tuberous Grass Pink
Carphephorus carnosus
Pineland Chaffhead (endemic, not on FWC list, likely)
Carphephorus odoratissimus
var. subtropicanus Pineland Purple (endemic, not on FWC list, likely)
Centella asiatica
Gotu Kola (invasive)
Chamaecrista nictatans
Sensitive Pea (not on FWC list, likely)
Chapmannia floridana
Florida Alicia (not on FWC list, likely, endemic)
Clitoria mariana
Atlantic Pidgeonwings (not on FWC list, likely)
Conoclinium coelestinum
Blue Mistflower
Desmodium floridanum 
Florida Ticktrefoil (not on FWC list, likely)
Desmodium incanum Creeping Beggarweed (non-native, not on FWC list, likely)
Desmodium paniculatum Panicled Ticktrefoil (not on FWC list, likely)
Desmodium tenuifolium Slimleaf Ticktrefoil (not on FWC list)
Desmodium tortuosum Florida Ticktrefoil (not on FWC list, it’s nativeness is debated)
Desmodium triflorum Threeflower Ticktrefoil (not on FWC list, non-native, likely)
Desmodium viridflorum Velvetleaf Ticktrefoil (not on FWC list
Diodia virginiana Virginia Buttonweed*
Epidendrum magnoliae
Green Fly Orchid
Eupatorium album
White Thoroughwort (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Eupatorium compositifolium
Yankeeweed (not on FWC list, likely)
Eupatorium leptophyllum
False Fennel
Eupatorium serotinum
Late Boneset (not on FWC list, very likely)
Funastrum clausum
White Twinevine (not on FWC list, likely)
Helianthemum carolinianum
Carolina Frostweed (not on FWC list)
Helianthemum corymbosum
Pinebarren Frostweed (not on FWC list)
Helianthemum nashii
Florida Scrub Frostweed (not on FWC list)
Hydrolea corymbosa
Skyflower*
Hymenocallis palmeri
 Alligator Lily*
Hypolepis repens
Creeping Bramble Fern
Ilex ambigua
Carolina Holly
Ilex cassine
Dahoon Holly
Ilex coriacea
Large Gallberry
Indigofera caroliniana
Carolina Indigo (not on FWC list, likely)
Indigofera hirsuta
Hairy Indigo (not on FWC list, invasive, likely)
Indigofera spicata
Creeping Indigo (not on fWC list, invasive, likely)
Juncus effusus solutus
Eastern Soft Rush
Lachnocaulon beyrichianum
Southern Bogbutton
Lechea torreyi
Piedmont Pinweed
Ludwigia repens
Creeping Evening Primrose
Lycopodiella caroliniana
Slender Club-Moss
Lycopus rubellus
Water Horehound
Lyonia lygustrima foliosiflora
Maleberry
Oldenlandia uniflora
Clustered Mille Graines
Oplismenus hirtellus
Woodsgrass
Opuntia stricta
Shell Mound Pricklypear
Osmunda regalis spectabilis
American Royal Fern
Oxypolis filiformis
Water Cowbane
Palafoxia integrifolia
Coastalplain Palafox
Panicum verrucosum
Warty Panicgrass
Passiflora lutea
Yellow Passionflower (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Passiflora suberosa 
Corkstem Passionflower (not on FWC list, likely)
Peltandra virginica
Green Arrow Arum
Penstemon multiflorus
White or Manyflowered Beardtongue
Pluchea foetida 
Stinking Camphorweed*
Physostegia leptophylla
Slenderleaf False Dragonhead (not on FWC list)
Pithecellobium unguis-cati
Catclaw Blackbead (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Polygonella robusta
Sandhill Wireweed (endemic)
Polygonella basiramia Hairy Jointweed* (endemic)
Polygonella gracilis Tall Jointweed
Quercus chapmanii Chapman’s Oak
Quercus geminata
Sand Live Oak
Quercus minima
Dwarf Live Oak
Rhexia alifanus
Savannah Meadowbeauty (not on FWC list)
Rhexia cubensis
West Indian Meadowbeauty (not on FWC list)
Rhexia lutea
Yellow Meadowbeauty (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Rhexia virginica
Handsome Harry(not on FWC list, unlikely)
Rhynchospora fascicularis
Fascicled Beaksedge
Rhynchospora inundata
Narrowfruit Horned Beaksedge
Rubus argutus Sawtooth Blackberry
Sagittaria lancifolia
Lanceleaf Arrowhead
Scoparia dulcis
Licorice Weed*
Setaria magna
Giant Bristlegrass
Sida acuta
Spinyhead Sida (not on FWC list, very likely)
Smilax glauca
Cat Greenbriar (not on FWC list)
Smilax rotundifolia
Roundleaf Greenbriar (not on FWC List, unlikely)
Smilax pumila
Sarsparilla vine
Smilax smallii
Jackson vine (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Smilax tamnoides
Bristly Greenbriar (not on FWC list)
Smilax walteri
Coral Greenbriar (not on FWC list)
Spigelia loganoides 
Florida Pinkroot (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Syngonanthus flavidulus
Yellow Hatpins
Tiedemannia filiformis 
Water Cowbane*
Tillandsia balbisiana 
Spreading Airplant
Tillandsia bartramii
Bartram’s Airplant
Tillandsia fasciculata
Cardinal Airplant
Triadenum virginicum V
irginia Marsh St. John’s Wort
Typha latifolia Common Cattail
Vittaria lineata
Shoestring Fern
Xyris fimbriata
Fringed Yellow-eyed Grass
Xyris platylepis Tall Yellow-Eyed Grass*
Zanthoxylum fagara Wild Lime (not on FWC list, possible)

Missing Invasive Plant Species

Psidium guajava Guava

Most Wanted Butterflies and Moths

Abaeis nicippe Sleepy Orange
Ancycloxypha numitor Least Skipper
Asbolis capucinus Monk Skipper (not on FWC list, highly likely)
Asterocampa celtis Hackberry Emperor (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Battus philenor Pipevine Swallowtail (not on FWC list)
Copaeodes minima Southern Skipperling
Danaus eresimus Soldier (not on FWC list, likely)
Dryas iulia Julia (not on FWC list, likely)
Endodeca serpentaria Virginia Snakeroot (not on FWC list, possible)
Epargyreus clarus Silver-spotted Skipper (not on FWC, likely)
Eumaeus atala Atala Hairstreak (not on FWC list, threatened, unlikely)
Euptoieta claudia Variegated Fritillary
Junonia coenia Common Buckeye
Junonia evarete Tropical Buckeye (not on FWC list)
Junonia genoveva Magrove Buckeye (not on FWC list, unlikely)
Lerodea eufala Eufala Skipper
Limenitis archippus Viceroy
Neonympha areolatus Georgia satyr (threatened)
Oligoria maculata Twin-spot Skipper
Papilio cresophontes Giant Swallowtail (not on FWC list,
Poanes aaroni Aaron’s Skipper
Phoebis agarithe Large Orange Sulfur (not on FWC list, possible)
Phoebis philea Orange-barred sulfur (not on FWC list
Phoebis sennae Cloudless Sulfur
Pyrgus albescens White-Checkered Skipper
Thorybes bathyllus Southern Cloudywing
Thorybes confusis Confused Cloudywing
Urbanus dorantes Dorantes Longtail
Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral (not on FWC list)
Vanessa virginiensis American Painted Lady (not on FWC list)

Missing Animal Species

Acris gryllus dorsalis Florida Cricket Frog
Kinosternon baurii
Striped Mud Turtle
Pantherophis alleghaniensis
Eastern Rat Snake
Plestiodon inexpectatus
Southeastern Five-Lined Skink
Pseudacris nigrita
Southern Chorus Frog
Thamnophis saurita sackenii
Peninsula Ribbon Snake

*If found in the Osceola County part of Split Oak, would be a first iNaturalist record for Osceola.

I wanted to check our progress for plants, and USF Plant Atlas lists a possible 1,501 species of plants in Orange and Osceola Counties. 1,192 of those are native. We’ve got a ways to go, guys!

So we have 102 “most wanted” plants and 251 already documented native plants = 353 plants that we (Friends of Split Oak Forest) know we need to find. That leaves 839 plants we don’t have on the above list!

Environmental Roundtable with Florida State Senator Linda Stewart

This Thursday I had the honor of being included in Senator Stewart’s meeting of environmental advocates. We packed her conference room and discussed her team’s plans for the upcoming session and our concerns.

Our major discussion topics were:

  1. Water quality measures that have been removed over the last eight years under the Scott administration.
    1. Sen Stewart is working on a bill to reinstate all of these protections.
  2. The Senator’s exasperation at how many bills that she introduced last session that would have improved water quality in the Kissimmee River watershed that were vetoed by Governor Scott
  3. Reintroduction of black bear protection bill (SB 156) from last session.
  4. Co-priming a bill with Senator Bracy to help the wetlands in the headwaters of the Little Wekiva River with $5m for the Saint Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD).
  5. Extensive discussion on the under-funding and misappropriation of Amendment 1/Florida Forever money.
    1. Sen Stewart co-sponsored SB 370 in 2017-8 which had $100m put aside for Florida Forever (historic funding was $300m).
    2. I guided the discussion on how to best advocate for land acquisition. A few of us formed a small working group to identify critical properties for state acquisition.

 

New Species Finds Update – mid-July to mid-August 2018

Current Species County in iNaturalist: 555
iNaturalist Species Count July 14: 548

New Endangered Plant Species

Tillandsia fasciculata Cardinal Airplant, seen by Bryan Ames May 3rd, brought to my attention June 16
Tillandsia urtriculata Spreading Airplant, seen by Danny Goodding May 6th, brought to my attention July 17

New Common Plant Species

Buchnera floridana Florida Bluehearts, seen by Sandy Bauer July 14th
Sabatia campanulata Slender Rose Gentian, seen by Sandy Bauer July 14th

New Common Animal Species

Anatrytone logan Delaware Skipper seen by Randy Snyder July 14th
Colias eurytheme Orange Sulfur seen by Randy Snyder July 14th
Hylephila phyleus Fiery Skipper seen by Randy Snyder July 14th
Phycoides tharos Pearl Crescent seen by Bryan Ames June 11th
Polites themistocles Tawny-Edged Skipper seen by Mary Keim July 14th
Trichodes apivorus seen by Randy Snyder July 14th

Animal Species on FWC List not Previously on iNaturalist

Acris gryllus Southern Cricket Frog seen by Bryan Ames May 3, identified June 16

Plant Species on FWC List not Previously on iNaturalist

Typha latifolia Common Cattail, seen by Bryan Ames May 18th, identified June 16

Most Wanted (on FWC list or seen nearby)

Agalinis filifolia Seminole False Foxglove
Asemeia grandiflora
Showy Milkwort*
Amphicarpum muhlenbergianum
Blue Maidencane
Aristida palustris
Longleaf Threeawn
Asimina angustifolia
Slimleaf Pawpaw
Baccharis halimifolia Groundsel Tree
Bacopa caroliniana Carolina Water-Hyssop
Calopogon tuberosus tuberosus
Tuberous Grass Pink
Centella asiatica
Gotu Kola (invasive)
Conoclinium coelestinum
Blue Mistflower
Diodia virginiana
Virginia Buttonweed*
Epidendrum magnoliae
Green Fly Orchid
Eulophia ecristata
Giant Orchid
Eupatorium leptophyllum
False Fennel
Hydrolea corymbosa
Skyflower*
Hymenocallis palmeri
 Alligator Lily*
Hypolepis repens
Creeping Bramble Fern
Ilex ambigua
Carolina Holly
Ilex cassine
Dahoon Holly
Ilex coriacea
Large Gallberry
Juncus effusus solutus
Eastern Soft Rush
Lachnocaulon beyrichianum
Southern Bogbutton
Lechea torreyi
Piedmont Pinweed
Liatris tenuifolia
Shortleaf Blazing Star
Ludwigia repens
Creeping Evening Primrose
Lycopodiella caroliniana
Slender Club-Moss
Lycopus rubellus
Water Horehound
Lyonia lygustrima foliosiflora
Maleberry
Oldenlandia uniflora
Clustered Mille Graines
Oplismenus hirtellus
Woodsgrass
Opuntia stricta
Shell Mound Pricklypear
Osmunda regalis spectabilis
American Royal Fern
Oxypolis filiformis
Water Cowbane
Palafoxia integrifolia
Coastalplain Palafox
Panicum verrucosum
Warty Panicgrass
Peltandra virginica
Green Arrow Arum
Pluchea foetida 
Stinking Camphorweed*
Polygonella polygama
October Flower
Quercus chapmanii
Chapman’s Oak
Quercus geminata
Sand Live Oak
Quercus minima
Dwarf Live Oak
Quercus nigra
Water Oak
Rubus argutus
Sawtooth Blackberry
Rhynchospora fascicularis
Fascicled Beaksedge
Rhynchospora inundata
Narrowfruit Horned Beaksedge
Sagittaria lancifolia
Lanceleaf Arrowhead
Scoparia dulcis
Licorice Weed*
Setaria magna
Giant Bristlegrass
Smilax pumila
Sarsparilla vine
Syngonanthus flavidulus
Yellow Hatpins
Tiedemannia filiformis 
Water Cowbane*
Tillandsia balbisiana 
Spreading Airplant
Tillandsia bartramii
Bartram’s Airplant
Tillandsia fasciculata
 Cardinal Airplant
Triadenum virginicum V
irginia Marsh St. John’s Wort
Typha latifolia Common Cattail
Vittaria lineata
Shoestring Fern
Xyris fimbriata
Fringed Yellow-eyed Grass

*If found in the Osceola County part of Split Oak, would be a first iNaturalist record for Osceola.

New plants found in Split Oak Forest from the BioBlitz through July 2018

I’ve been inspired by our hiking group1 finding a new plant species to look at how many new plant and animal species we have documented in Split Oak since the BioBlitz on May 4-6, 2018.

Vernonia angustifolia, Narrowleaf tall ironweed, photo by Valerie Anderson

This summer-blooming wildflower in the Aster family was not vouchered2 in Osceola County and it had not been recorded in iNaturalist3, by FWC4 or in a herbarium5 as being present in Split Oak Forest.

BioBlitz

Danny Goodding, a PhD candidate at the University of Central Florida, planned and ran the entire event. Scheduling it in May meant that we could perhaps observe Spring wildflowers that were not observed by the FWC contractor that created the plant list, as they did their survey in the fall.

BioBlitz participants observed 303 species in Split Oak Forest, compared to the 400 species listed in the previously referenced FWC management plan.

The species count for Split Oak Forest on iNaturalist is currently at 548, only two months after the BioBlitz!

Including the species found during the BioBlitz, people visiting Split Oak Forest between May 4 and July 16, 2018 documented 88 new species, including 4 new endemic plant species, 44 new common plant species, 5 new species of animals, 34 new species of insect, and 2 new species of fungi/lichen

New Endemic Species of Plants

Phoebanthus grandiflorus Florida False Sunflower
Polygala rugelii Yellow Milkwort
Schoenocaulon dubium Florida Feathershank
Tephrosia rugelii Rugel’s Hoarypea

New Common Species of Plants

Andropogon brachystachyus Shortspike Bluestem
Asclepias tuberosa rolfsii Rolf’s Milkweed
Bromelia pinguin
 Piñuela
Carex longii Green-and-White Sedge
Centrosema virginianum Butterfly Pea
Coleataenia tenera Bluejoint Panicgrass
Crotalaria sagittalis Arrowhead Rattlebox
Croton michauxii Michaux’s Croton
Eleocharis equisetoides Horsetail spikerush
Erigeron quercifolius Oakleaf Fleabane
Erigeron strigosus Prairie Fleabane
Eryngium yuccifolium Rattlesnake master
Eupatorium mohrii Mohr’s Thoroughwort
Eustachys petraea Pinewoods Fingergrass
Galactia regularis Downy milkpea
Helianthemum nashii Florida Scrub Frostweed
Hieracium megalocephalon Coastalplain Hawkweed
Hypericum crux-andreae St. Peter’s Wort
Hypericum multilum Dwarf St. John’s Wort
Hypoxis juncea Fringed Stargrass
Hypochaeris radicata Common Cat’s Ear6
Ipomoea sagittata Saltmarsh Morning Glory7
Lactuca graminifolia Grass-Leaf Lettuce
Ludwigia maritima Seaside Primrosewillow
Mimosa quadrivalis floridana Florida Sensitive Briar
Paspalum setaceum Thin Paspalum
Physostegia virginiana Obedient Plant
Proserpinaca pectinata Combleaf Mermaidweed
Ptilimnium capillaceum Herbwilliam
Pluchea odorata Marsh Fleabane
Polygala cruciata cruciata Drumheads
Polygala nana Candyroot
Rhexia mariana Maryland Meadowbeauty
Rhynchospora megalocarpa Sandyfield Beaksedge
Rhynchospora microcephala Bunched Beaksedge
Rubus trivialis Southern Dewberry
Smilax auricularia Earleaf Greenbriar
Spiranthes praecox Grass-leaved Ladies’ Tresses
Stipulicida setacea setacea Pineland Scalypink
Stylisma patens angustifolia Narrowleaf Coastalplain Dawnflower
Vernonia angustifolia Narrowleaf Tall Ironweed8
Woodwardia virginica Virginia Chainfern
Xyris caroliniana Carolina Yellow-eyed Grass
Yucca filamentosa Adams’ Needle

New Common Species of Animals

Hyla gratiosa Barking Tree Frog
Nerodia fasciata Banded Water Snake
Plestiodon fasciatus Common Five-Lined Skink
Plestiodon laticeps Broadhead skink
Setophaga striata Blackpoll Warbler

New Common Species of Insects

Anisomorpha buprestoides Southern Two-Striped Walkingstick
Amblytropidia mysteca
Brown Winter Grasshopper
Amblycorypha floridana
Florida Oblong-winged  Katydid
Augochlora pura
Pure Green Augochlora
Bombus impatiens
Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Camponotus socius Ant without a common name
Chalcophora georgiana Southern Sculptured Pine Borer
Chloridea virescens Tobacco Budworm Moth
Chlorotabanus crepuscularis
Colonus sylvanus Sylvan Jumping Spider
Dasymutila occidentalis Common Velvet Ant
Dermacentor variabilis American Dog Tick
Dolomedes triton Six-spotted Fishing Spider
Eriophora ravilla Tropical Orbweaver
Eurycotis floridana Florida Woods Cockroach
Florinda coccinea Black-tailed Sheetweaver
Harmonia axyridis Asian Lady Beetle
Ischnura hastata Citrine Forktail
Larinia director
Nathalis iole Dainty Sulphur by Nathalie Van Turnhout
Odontoxiphidium apterum Wingless Meadow Katydid
Omphalocera munroei Asimina Webworm Moth
Orphulella pelidna Spotted-winged Grasshopper
Pisaurina undulata Slender Nursery Web Spider
Psinidia fenestralis Longhorn Band-Wing Grasshopper
Poecilognathus unimaculatus Hairless Bee Fly
Polacantha gracilis
Proctacanthus fulviventris Spine-Tailed Robber Fly
Rabidosa punctuata Dotted Wolf Spider
Satyrium favonius favonius Southern Oak Hairstreak
Schistocerca alutacea Leather-colored Bird Grasshopper
Stichopogon abdominalis
Trioza magnoliae Red Bay Psyllid
Urola nivalis Snowy Urola Moth

New Species of Fungi and Lichen

Astraeus hygrometricus Hygroscopic Earthstar
Pycnoporus coccineus Southern Cinnamon Polypore

Missing Plant Species 9

Agalinis filifolia Seminole False Foxglove
Amphicarpum muhlenbergianum
Blue Maidencane
Aristida palustris
Longleaf Threeawn
Asimina angustifolia
Slimleaf Pawpaw
Baccharis halimifolia Groundsel Tree
Bacopa caroliniana Carolina Water-Hyssop
Calopogon tuberosus tuberosus
Tuberous Grass Pink
Centella asiatica
Gotu Kola
Diodia virginiana
Virginia Buttonweed
Epidendrum magnoliae
Green Fly Orchid
Eulophia ecristata
Giant Orchid
Eupatorium leptophyllum
False Fennel
Hypolepis repens
Creeping Bramble Fern
Ilex ambigua
Carolina Holly
Ilex cassine
Dahoon Holly
Ilex coriacea
Large Gallberry
Juncus effusus solutus
Eastern Soft Rush
Lachnocaulon beyrichianum
Southern Bogbutton
Lechea torreyi
Piedmont Pinweed
Liatris tenuifolia
Shortleaf Blazing Star
Ludwigia repens
Creeping Evening Primrose
Lycopodiella caroliniana
Slender Club-Moss
Lycopus rubellus
Water Horehound
Lyonia lygustrima foliosiflora
Maleberry
Oldenlandia uniflora
Clustered Mille Graines
Oplismenus hirtellus
Woodsgrass
Opuntia stricta
Shell Mound Pricklypear
Osmunda regalis spectabilis
American Royal Fern
Oxypolis filiformis
Water Cowbane
Palafoxia integrifolia
Coastalplain Palafox
Panicum verrucosum
Warty Panicgrass
Peltandra virginica
Green Arrow Arum
Polygonella polygama
October Flower
Quercus chapmanii
Chapman’s Oak
Quercus geminata
Sand Live Oak
Quercus minima
Dwarf Live Oak
Quercus nigra
Water Oak
Rubus argutus
Sawtooth Blackberry
Rhynchospora fascicularis
Fascicled Beaksedge
Rhynchospora inundata
Narrowfruit Horned Beaksedge
Sagittaria lancifolia
Lanceleaf Arrowhead
Scoparia dulcis
Licorice Weed
Setaria magna
Giant Bristlegrass
Smilax pumila
Sarsparilla vine
Syngonanthus flavidulus
Yellow Hatpins
Tillandsia balbisiana 
Spreading Airplant
Tillandsia bartramii
Bartram’s Airplant
Tillandsia fasciculata
 Cardinal Airplant
Triadenum virginicum V
irginia Marsh St. John’s Wort
Typha latifolia Common Cattail
Vittaria lineata
Shoestring Fern
Xyris fimbriata
Fringed Yellow-eyed Grass

Missing Animal Species10

Acris gryllus dorsalis Florida Cricket Frog
Hyla squirella Squirrel Tree Frog
Kinosternon baurii
Striped Mud Turtle
Pantherophis alleghaniensis
Eastern Rat Snake
Plestiodon inexpectatus
Southeastern Five-Lined Skink
Pseudacris ocularis
Little Grass Frog
Pseudacris nigrita
Southern Chorus Frog
Thamnophis saurita sackenii
Peninsula Ribbon Snake

Missing Invasive Plant Species

Psidium guajava Guava

Action Alert: Brevard County Landfill to pollute the St. John’s River

Indicative of the political and environmental climate in Central Florida, Brevard County wants to put a dump on the Osceola County line directly feeding into the headwaters of the St. John’s River. The public notice states that water flows directly into the St. Johns River and Lake Washington from the site.  Lake Washington is where the City of Melbourne gets its drinking water.

Please email your objections to Jeffrey.S.Collins@usace.army.mil.

You may model your comments on The Central Florida Sierra Club Group’s comments here.

While the entirety of Split Oak Forest in the Kissimmee River Basin it is adjacent to lands that feed into the St. Johns River and the quality of the St. Johns River is within the purview of Friend’s of Split Oak Forest’s mission.

CFX Board considers road through Split Oak feasible

Today the entire board and many members of Friends of Split Oak Forest as well as members of Speak Up Wekiva and concerned local residents attended and spoke at the Central Florida Expressway governing board meeting.

On the agenda were the three projects taken over from the Osceola County Expressway Authority. The chairman of that board, Atlee Mercer, made some amusing comments to the CFX board toward the end of the public comment period:

“These roads haves been talked about for almost 30 years. We had a plan. We vetted it entirely. We passed it at our board. We passed it on to you. You chose to revisit it. That’s OK. I get it. But don’t lose sight of that plan. I’m here to say that this road, this connection, is critical to the long-term health of Central Florida and the East Coast. And it needs to be constructed because it is an integral part of that southern beltway.”

Yes, roads are really, really healthy, Mr. Mercer. This is part of his ‘this is a road that’s got to be built’ mantra that he leans on in times like these.

It’s unfortunate because the Osceola Parkway Extension is not a critical part of the beltway. It’s a spur of the beltway that leads into the airport. The completion of the beltway would be an extension of the Northeast Connector to the that has not yet been planned.

Map of the beltway from the spring 2018 CFX concept studies season
Orlando metro beltway map with my annotations indicating the logical placement of the corridors completing the beltway

Friends of Split Oak Forest, along with most of the commentators, were concerned with the Osceola Parkway Extension, of which six out of the seven routes go through Split Oak Forest.1 Despite consistent requests from a variety of groups starting during the CFX Kickoff series of meetings in Fall 2017, CFX leadership refuses to re-examine a route that avoid both Lake Ajay Village and Split Oak: OCX E-1. I wrote an entire post on this issue.

OCX E-1 by Kimley Horn

At this meeting, several board members indicated that they would like the alternative that avoids Lake Ajay and Split Oak to be considered. Let’s see if these board member comments go the way of Buddy Dyer’s comment about investigating lower speed limits so that sharper curves could be considered. That way is nowhere. By interviewing CH2M engineers and CFX engineers long after the board meeting where Buddy said that, I learned that no orders had been given to engineer any route options at a lower speed limit.

Osceola County released this video after the meeting.

Several news articles were written immediately following the meeting:

Central Florida Expressway Authority moves ahead with study of contentious Split Oak road by Scott Powers in Florida Politics

Expressway Authority advances toll road at Split Oak Forest and Lake Ajay Village by Kevin Spear in the Orlando Sentinel

Florida Pennyroyal

Florida (or wild or false) Pennyroyal (Piloblephis rigida) is a native plant in the mint family that grows in Split Oak Forest. It grows into pretty obvious mounds and usually flowers in the spring. It can be used to make a delicious tea or mixed drink. You’ll find it throughout peninsular Florida in the dryer upland plant communities while hiking, as well as in native plant enthusiasts’ yards. You can find this plant for sale at native nurseries like Green Isle Gardens in Groveland and The Natives in Davenport1

Florida Pennyroyal photographed by Valerie Anderson found near Lake Two in Split Oak Forest WEA, March 3, 2018.

Florida Pennyroyal used to be a reliable nectar plant for honeybees, but is no longer. Central Florida beekeepers that I’ve spoken to aren’t aware of it as a nectar plant2. As a member of the mint family, its flowers are easily accessible to honeybees.

I have personally observed Florida Pennyroyal twice in Split Oak Forest, once this past Saturday near Lake Two and last November I saw it without flowers in the Osceola part. iNaturalist has two other observations in Split Oak Forest. The USF Herbarium has four vouchered specimens in Orange and Osceola counties, the earliest from 1952, pictured below.

USF Herbarium specimen of Piloblephis rigida collected by George R. Cooley, 1952