Thursday, December 20, 2012

12/20 The Canopy at Myakka

I rode my bike down to the canopy walkway and tower.  It was constructed about 7 years ago with donations and gives you a wonderful opportunity to see stuff as it would be seen as a bird or animal that lives in the canopy.

First, most of the trees in this area are either Live Oaks or Sabal Palms.  Where the land is slightly higher, you will also find pine trees, but those are not as common.  You will most likely first notice that the trees are covered with hanging Spanish Moss.  As I learned this week, this is neither Spanish or moss.  It is an air plant which, contrary to common belief, is native to the United States and does not kill the trees on which it lives.  There is nothing so indicative of the South as live oak trees hung with Spanish Moss. 

My campsite is (or was until I moved) under a live oak tree, hanging with Spanish moss:

Here are two views of the canopy walk.  It is not very long, but it enables you to get really close to large branches near the tops of trees.

One of the most interesting thing about the trees in this area are the number of plants living on them.  This photo shows four different species living on one branch.  The humidity is very high here, making it easy for such plants to survive during even the dry times. 

·         The white arrow points to a white lichen.
·         The pink arrow points to a pink lichen.
·         The blue arrow points to a mass of dried up resurrection fern.
·         The blue arrow is a Cardinal air plant that will have a red flower later in the year.

Here is another photo of plants living on tree branches.  Notice how tightly together they are packed.  This results in a lot of biomass in a very small area.

The resurrection fern looks pretty unimpressive in the dry times of year, but as soon as it rains, it looks like this photo I found on the internet.

It took me quite a while to learn the names of desert plants while I was in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, and now I have a whole new environmental area to learn.  I did buy the Audabon book that contains plants, animals, birds, and even fish, so I have some studying to do!

1 comment:

  1. very cool you're identifying so much. was a fun challenge for me awhile back, too.