Passionflower Chapter

Florida Native Plant Society

Past Activity News

June 29, 2019 Warea Tract

The Warea Tract in east Lake County is a small parcel with a high biodiveristy of listed plants and limited public access.  Passionflower, Lake Beautyberry, and Tarflower FNPS Presidents (yes, three chapter Presidents!) and members helped Florida Forestry on June 29, 2019 by pulling non-native Natal Grass (a Cat I invasive).  The collected plants and seeds will be disposed of by “cooking” them in the black plastic garbage bags used for collecting, and then placing them in the regular trash.  Blooming plants observed included Stylisma abidita (dawnflower  - a tiny white morning-glory type flower that is a listed species), Skullcaps, and Roselings.  Although the Warea are yet to bloom, the group was told that plants collected at this site will be planted at Lake Louisa State Park and other conservation areas later this year.

June 28, 2019 Lake Louisa SP Garden

Seven hardy Passionflower members braved the heat to do some community service while getting a dose of outdoor therapy.  The members volunteered at Lake Louisa State Park pruning, pulling weeds, and planting in the Ranger Station Garden where butterflies and dragonflies kept them company.  Among the weeds found and pulled were Category I invasives (Natal Grass, Caesar’s Weed, and Rosary Pea) and Category II invasives (Praxelis and Balsam Apple).  Volunteers left the garden, a focal point for visitors entering and leaving the park, looking much neater – well, as neat as a native plant wildflower garden can look!

June 16, 2019 Field Trip to Flat Island Preserve

A group of 15 Lake Beautyberry and Passionflower members spent a lovely Father’s Day morning hiking at Flat Island Preserve, a Lake County Water Authority property just south of Leesburg.  Patricia Burgos, an LCWA biologist and FNPS member, led the hike and provided a wealth of information about the history and management of the property and the plants the group encountered.

The first part of the hike was along a gently upsloping shaded trail.  Flat Island is surrounded by the Okahumpka Marsh, which feeds a number of lakes and the aquifer, but the trail is inland through upland hardwood hammocks.  With tall overstory trees the trail was well shaded, and there were lots of interesting understory plants including beautyberry, wild coffee, and blooming ironweed.

The highlight of the trip was seeing the wildflower meadow/sandhill restoration area where plants rescued by FNPS volunteers have been relocated in a burned and cleared pasture area.  Among the dozens of relocated plants are threatened, endemic Polygala lewtonii, scrub buckwheat, liatris, sky-blue lupine, sandhill milkweed, partridge pea, penstemon, greeneyes, and vibrant orange-blossomed standing cypress (in foreground of picture).