xt76125q9w53 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt76125q9w53/data/mets.xml Florida Duncan, William M. 1939 Other creators: United States. Work Projects Administration; Federal Writers' Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Florida. Prepared for use in Public Schools by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration, Jacksonville, Florida. UK holds archival copy for ASERL Collaborative Federal Depository Program libraries. Call number QK154 .D86 1939. books  English Fort Lauderdale, Fla. : [s.n.] This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Florida Works Progress Administration Publications Stories of Florida: Florida Trees, Flowers, Fruits, by William M. Duncan text Stories of Florida: Florida Trees, Flowers, Fruits, by William M. Duncan 1939 1939 2015 true xt76125q9w53 section xt76125q9w53 `   UNIVTRSITY QF KENTUTKVN
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Prepared for use in Public Schools by the
Jacksonville, Florida

1 ,
. by
William M. Duncan
To a naturalist, the State of Florida is one of the most complex and
interesting regions in the world. The peninsula has a dry season that is
wetter and a rainy season that is drier than the corresponding periods of
the tropics. Temperate vegetation appears in the late winter and tropic
vegetation in summer.
‘ There are many different types of areas——flat pine woods, rolling woods,
I sand country, clay country, limestone, areas of bluish springs, lakes and
caves. There are dense hardwood forests, sand dunes and fertile hammocks;
narrow, slowly·moving streams, and a range of highland lakes. In the penin-
sular area, salt—watcr and fresh—water marshes, cypress swamps, open swamps,
low hammocks and inundated prairies range southward to the great marshland
of the Everglades. With every marked change of altitude and soil, are c0r—
responding changes of the flora, or plant life.
The Trees
Hilly pinelands range from the Alabama line through middle-west Florida,
with longleaf pine and occasional sandy tracts of blackjack oak. Spruce pine
W is near the coast, between Alabama and the Ocklocknee River. Diversified
_ growth is seen in the limestone region of Holmes and Jackson Counties, with
sandy, open pine forests, red clay hills, dense hardwoods, and cypress ponds
that dry up in the spring,
An area linking west and central Florida, the middle Florida ham ock
belt extending from Liberty County to Marion County, contains pine woods,
_ _ sandy ham ocks, open prairies and hardwood forests. A region of rolling
V sandy pine woods extends from Georgia, through the heart of the peninsula

into south Florida. Along the Gulf coast, from St. Marks to Tarpon Springs, is
the great Gulf Hammock, with many large hardwood forests and swamps. The lake
region running through the heart of Florida from Clay County to Highlands
County, is a ridge·like sandy area, with evergreen oaks, high pinelands and high
hardwood hammocks.
Spreading over the northeast corner of the state, are the east Florida
flat pinewoods, with countless shallow cypress ponds and swamps, slash, short-
` leaf, black and longleaf pine.
_ Joining with the east Florida flatwoods on the east, the hammock and lime-
sink regions on the west, and divided in the middle by the lake region, pro-
gressing south toward the Everglades, are the south Florida flatwoods, closely
resembling the forests of northeast Florida.
The Everglades, with its profuse tropical flora, ranges between the coasts,
from below a belt of treeless prairies north of Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay.
Here are enormous stands of cypress and palm—covered islands encircled by
open, inundated areas covered with sawgrass.
In the western part, the Gulf coast presents bulwarks of mangrove and
buttonwood, and jungles of live oak, magnolia, mahogany, ash, maple and holly.
Great hammocks of cypress and Caribbean pine lie to the north. The stately
_ royal palm is found in abundance to the south,
A Ranging inland from the east, are expenses of grass, lilies, and other
aquatic plants, broken by jungles of cabbage palmetto. In the heart of the
island jungles, almost inaccessible, are luxuriant growths of wild flowers,
ferns, moss, orchids, and vines. Tropical palms and hardwoods are on the
e Florida Keys nearest the mainland, and Caribbean pines grow over the lower
_ . group south to Key West.

 ° Florida's Northern Trees; Throughout the State, trees of temperate origin
U mingle with tropical flora. In west Florida the mountain laurel, which ranges
up to Nova Scotia, grows a few miles from the cabbage palmetto.
Many of Florida’s trees are quickly recognized by northerners. The syca—
more, one of the largest hardwood trees in America and characterized by a thin
bark that flakes off in large patches, is general over the State. The maple,
with its light-browgyihd bright-green, three—lobed leaves, closely resembles
the sugar—bearing maple in New England. The yellow poplar tree, which bears
i tulip-like flowers, and has a light, soft, wood, is valuable for interior and
o exterior trim, veneers and other special uses.
There are four hickories in north Florida. The bitternut, a tall, slender
tree, with granite-gray trunk, faintly tinged with yellow, is found in low,
moist soils. The short-limbed white hickory of rich soils has a dark-gray bark
and takes its name from a white, tough wood that is exceptionally good fuel.
Hammock hickory, common in hammocks north of the Everglades, is usually the
smallest of the four trees, although its slender medium—gray trunk occasionally
stretches to BO feet. I
Three ashes are found in river swamps. The river ash, with reddish-brown
bark, and the small water ash, have oval—shaped leaves, slightly toothed at the .
margin. The great pumpkin ash, with slender trunk and enlarged base, sometimes
· attains heights of BO feet.
A Tropical Trees; The heaviest wood in the United States, black ironwood,
is on tho Keys. The lightest, corkwood, is in west Florida. The toughest,
lignum vitae, and torchwood, one of the most resinous, are also on the Keys.
There is the buttonwood tree, considered without peer as fuel, because it
throws off u great heat with little smoke. The soapberry tree produces seeds
` I which contain a substance useful as a soap substitute. The horseradish tree

 1 has a root that can be scraped and eaten like horseradish. The sausage tree
has an inedible fruit resembling sausage. Poison wood, exudes a gum that raises
blister almost im ediately after contact. Mahogany, of a variety inferior to
that in South America, appears in the Everglades and on the Keys.
One of the rarest of trees, the torreya, is found along the Apalachicola
River. This, a variety of cedar, has a wood that, when bruised, exudes an un-
pleasant odor and for this reason is called "stinking cedar." The tall gumbo
limbo, on the lower coasts, reaches great height and spreads its enormous roots
‘ on the surface of the ground.
` In coastal regions, are several varieties of trees entangling in dense,
spreading thickets. Strangest of these is the mahoe, in the Ten Thousand
Islands. It suggests a huge strawberry plant, its limbs bending over, entering
the ground, and taking root again, after the manner of the native East India
Banyan. The mahoe, however, is a more sinister growth than the banyan, spread·
. ing at the rate of five or six feet a year. It is sometimes 135 feet across,
though only 35 feet high. Beneath it is a small forest of roots, lnnbs and
the rotting timber of trees killed in its path. Perhaps its only close rival
as a menace to other plants is the strangler fig, of the dense tropical jungles
in the Everglades, which tightens a thick trunk around the tree until it is
dead. When the victim has rotted away, the vine remains a hollow tube.
‘ In parts of west Florida, the small, crooked-trunked, branching titi forms
l dense growth. The bushy mangrove is found in deep thickets along the coasts.
The Pines; Commercialized pine, growing in open forests in nearly all
regions, is the State's commonest evergreen, and the basis of lumbering, tur-
pentine, and rosin industries. In northwest Florida is the tall, smooth-
barked spruce pine. Slash and longleaf pine grow over the entire peninsula,
‘ ` and in north and east Florida, keep company with shortleaf and loblolly pine.

 . ·5·· C
In south Florida there is a variety of slash pine, commonly called Caribbean
‘ or Cuban pine. Sand pine seeks the dunes of the coast and sand of the interior,
and the pond or black pine, is found in swamps and on poor soils.
Most of these varieties can be easily identified——the spruce pine by its
large trunk and great height; slash pine by the small branches at its round-
topped head, and its glossy, prickly cones; longleaf by the lustrous, lO—inch
needles. The loblolly pine, which is not very common, is characterized by its
deeply furrowed barks. Shortleaf pine is readily distinguished by its short
needles and small cones. Sand pine has a crooked trunk and scrubby appearance
U while black pine has darker bark and bears globular cones.
Hardwoods; Winding green tracts of hardwood trace the banks of the State's
many small rivers and creeks. Here, water hickory, white bay, scarlet-leaved
loblolly bay, sweet gum, water ash and others are found in dense and colorful
Over high areas are the sandy Florida "hammocks", high and low, on hills
and in ravines. Here prevail scrubby blackjack or turkey oaks, water laurel,
willow oaks, cedar, and the red—berried holly. Here also grow the live oaks,
with massive dome and spreading, almost horizontal limbs; the sturdy, trim-
barked dogwood, with lovely flowers that are the forest feature of spring; and
the tree that, to many, is the most beautiful of all--the magnolia, with its
smooth, brown trunk sometimes four feet in diameter, large, leathery,green
A leaves, and cream-colored blossoms with purple center.
Festoons of Spanish moss add their gray beauty to the deep shade of all
hammocks, Although its sprouts from tiny seeds lodging in the crevices of the
trunk or bough, and sends out rootlets for attachment, the plant derives no
sustenance from the tree; all of its food coming from the air and rain.
A most durable and valuable timber tree is the cypress, which lifts a
· `
fluted, silvery trunk above swamps and shallow ponds, over the entire State,

 . The largest, sometrnes l00 feet in height, are hundreds of years old. Peculiar,
knob—like cypress "knees" grow from the treos' roots, appearing around the base.
Their function has not been determined, though some believe they gather air for
the root system.
Ornamentals: One of the most popular ornamentals grown in cities in all
parts of the State is the camphor tree. The wood of this luxuriant, smooth-
trunked species contains camphor, useful as an antiseptic, and is grown for
this purpose in China. Another native of China, the low china-berry tree is a
· common shade tree in rural areas. It bears lilac-colored flowers and yellow
' berries in April.
China also has given Florida a tree of growing commercial importance, the
tung oil tree. This small, pink-blossoming species produces the tung nut. The
oil from its seeds is used in the manufacture of varnishes, paints, oilcloth,
linoleum, and a great variety of waterproofing materials. Introduced and de-
veloped in Florida by the State Agricultural Experiment Station, the tree is
planted in large groves in the vicinity of Gainesville. In l93B the State's
total output of tung oil was estimated at approximately 1,000,000 pounds.
None is more decorative than the graceful Paradise tree, found in lower
Florida. During the spring the low, rounded head of this tropical species is
overspread with clusters of small, yellow flowers. West Florida has among
· others, the dainty redbud, with red-brown bark and pink flowers. The Australian
I pine, forming an excellent windbreak, and the silk oak are popular highway
ornamentals in south Florida.
Palms; The palms of south Florida comprise a natural symbol of our near-
ness to the tropics. The most beautiful is the tall royal palm, with its light-
gray trunk tapering upward from an enlarged base to an upper shaft of bright
· ‘ green. The leaves of the large, arching crown are deep green, and sometimes
- l2 feet in length. I

 , The crooked—trunk coconut palm is highly favored both for its nuts and
as an ornamental. The shaggy—headed cabbage palm or sabal palmetto is most
common of all palms and found throughout the State. Cocos Plumosa is planted I
in many parks, being tall and straight, with arching fronds. The thatch palm
is relatively small, with spreading fan-shaped leaves. The date palm is also
grown, although here its fruit has no com ercial value. The slow—growing sago,
which has a maximum height of l0 feet, and the comptie, a small plant, are not
true palms, but cycads. The comptie, resembling both a palm and a fern, yields
. a nutritious starch eaten by early pioneers and Florida Indians.
' The saw palmetto, a dwarf palm, forms the most common undergrowth of the
entire State, appearing wherever there is sand. The base of this strange plant
puts out numerous strong roots on the underside of the stem, Advancing, its
buds continue to grow, branching, dividing, and producing new plants as the
parent dies.
Wild Flowers
Wild flowers differ in variety according to their location: dark or sandy ,
soil, swamp or pineland, dry hills or marshes. .
The common dandelion is seen on dry soil in spring and summer. Also in
dry pinelands, in summer, is false foxglove, with large, pale-yellow flowers
and jagged dark—green leaves. The wild lupine, its blue flowers resembling a
· sweet pea, appears in mid-winter and is present until early summer. This plant
' folds its leaves at night; it bears pods containing four or five seeds. The
spreading stems of milk vetch, with heart—shaped leaflets and small, pale-
purple flowers, fonm gray—green carpets from late winter until summer.
Other familiar members of the pine forest c mpany include the small, six-
pointed flowers of yellow star grass, found in winter and summer, and the minute
· · blossoms of the diamond flower, spreading in mats close to the ground. Spring

 . and summer bring the button snakeroot, a stout plant, up to four feet tall,
with blue or white globular heads, Goldenrod and milkwort bloom all year.
The latter flower, with a clover—like head at the end of a smooth stem, varies
in color from pink or red to greenish—white.
On sandy soil, from spring through fall, are numerous black-eyed susans,
showing a bright—yellow ray with brown disk. This flower has abundant pollen,
and is often attended by wasps, beetles and butterflies.
Toad flax, with blue and purple spikes from six inches to two feet in
~ length, blossoms in sandy woods in winter and spring. The starry, five—lobed
° white and pink flowers of dogbane bloom in loose clusters all year. The name
is derived from an old belief that the plant was poisonous to dogs. Another
year-round sand—hill flower is Tread Softly, a low-growing nettle, with
stinging hairs and small white blossoms.
Spring brings to low pinelands the large, white Easter, or Atamasco lily.
A The wild red lily appears both in summer and occasionally in winter. False
garlic, a small, white lily, growing from a bulb, is seen in winter and spring.
The year-round pitcher plant or fly catcher, is of a carniverous nature. This
strange, trumpet—shaped plant has reddish tubular leaves that attract flies,
beetles and ants. After the insects have fallen inside, they are unable to
escape, and are dissolved into a nutrient solution absorbed by the leaf.
‘ Many of the wild flowers in boggy pinelands and marshes bloom all year.
l Examples include St. Peter's wort, a four—petaled, yellow flower on a shrubby
plant, up to three feet tall; St. John's wort, a similar flower, with five
petals, and penny wort, with creeping stems, small round leaves and small,
pink—tingcd blossoms, also yellow—eyed grass, characterized by a leafless,
flowering stem, and yellow, round heads at the end of a short spike; pipe wort,
‘ ` its small flowers forming a white, gray or brown button-like head at the top

 . of fluted stems; marsh pines, consisting of four to l2—lobed flowers of pink,
white, or blue; and fog fruit, showing small, blue flowers on a low, compact,
stalked head. Colic root, topped by small, tubular, yellow flowers, and with a
rosette of yellow—green leaves at the base of the stem, blooms in spring.
Bedroot, showing a dull, yellow-green cluster of flowers at the head of a
leafy stem, arrives in spring to remain all summer. A brilliant-red sap flows
through its roots. The blue, five-lobed blossoms of the mana is another sum-
mer flower, as is deer grass, identified by a square stem, round, slightly
‘ heart—shaped leaves, and deep—colored, four—petaled flowers of pink, pale-
° purple and rose.
Many kinds of aquatic flowers and plants lend ornamental effect to Florida's
lakes, streams and ditches. The water hyaeinth, introduced from Brazil, propa-
gates so rapidly and extensively that gangs of workmen are often required to
clear it from navigable waterways. Its striking, blue flower is floated at the
surface by air—filled stems.
Arrow-head is a white aquatic flower, in whorls of three. The beautiful
spider lily, with a stalk one to two feet in height, has a slender, white
flower of six lobes. Water lettuce floats thick, light-green wedge-shaped
leaves, and its floating heart shows a white flower and heart-shaped leaves.
Spring in the swamps brings the lizard's tail, known by its small, white
‘ flowers on a spike that droops at the tip, and spoonflower, with a fleshy stalk,
l and a white flower resembling a pointed spoon. The many purple blossoms on the
root—like stem of the thalia appear in sum er and fall. Blueflag, a wild iris,
1 with three petals and sword—shaped leaves, blooms in late winter and spring,
Golden Club, its flowering stem covered with small, yellow flowers, blooms in
swamps and shallow water from late winter into summer. Smilax is common through
‘ ` the year, intertwining prickly stems, and bearing clusters of black, yellow or
_ b red berries.

 ' ·lO—
, Ferns
Many kinds of ferns grow in Florida's pinelands, prairies, hammocks,
marshes, and swamps, Throughout the State, the resurrection fern fonns mats
of green on the barks of trees. This abundant plant shrivels up in dry weather,
but regains its color after rainfall. The maiden-hair fern is fairly extensive,
carpeting the floors of lhme—sinks and high pineland hammocks. The halberd
fern, with large leaf—blades, grows best in lime—sinks and grottoes. Quillwort,
a grass·like plant, is common along pineland streams, and in wet woods, marshes '
. and hammocks.
• Wet, moist grounds also produce the royal fern, When old, this familiar
fern turns red or dark brown. A plant that grows best around the base of trees
and in cypress knees is the chain-fern. Many tropical varieties are found in
lower Florida, including the large—leaved fern of mangrove swamps and salt
marshes; the old Boston fern, spreading over the trunks of cabbage palmettos,
and the strap fern, found on the limbs of live oaks.
Beautiful orchids are found in Florida, especially in the southern part.
There are a number of epiphytic varieties (those growing in trees) but the most
abundant are terrestrial, or rooted in the soil. One common epiphytic species,
the butterfly orchid, is found in the ham ocks and swamps of southern Florida
` in spring and summer, its green—brown flowers roundish and clustered. Terres-
trial orchids can be seen in low grounds throughout the State. The small,
greenish—white ladies' tresses bloom in winter and spring, and the small, pure-
white, spurred orchid, as also the yellow—fringed orchid, in spring and sum er.
Fragrant rose pogonia blooms in marshes in late winter and spring.

 ' -11-
, Tropical Fruits
In lower Florida around Miami and the Keys, is a large variety of curious
tropical fruits. Here thrive such delectable oddities as the papaya, which is
cooked as a vegetable when green, and eaten as a fruit when ripe; breadfruit,
which, baked, resembles bread; the crimson—pulped, agreeably acid pomegranate;
and the mango, with its very large seed and subacid pulp. Also, the kumquat,
the smallest of all citrus fruits; the butter-like avocado, one of the most
nutritious fruits in the world; the guava, famed in the making of jelly; the
¤ spicy Surinam cherry; the extremely sugary tamarind; the refreshing Japanese
' loquat; besides the common coconuts, pineapples and bananas.
Citrus; A most important feature of Florida's plant life is citrus. Among
the earliest reference to citrus fruit in Florida, is that of Jonathan Dicken-
son, who, in 1696, wrote of St. Augustine; "lt is about three—quarters of a
mile in length, not regularly built, the houses not very thick, they having
large orchards, in which are plenty of oranges, lemons, pome-citrons, limes,
figs and peaches."
It is known that oranges reached the West Indies as a part of Columbus'
cargo on his second voyage in 1497, and that they were brought from there to
the Florida mainland by early Spanish colonists and explorers. Wild groves
were created in many places when Indians obtained the fruit and carried it about,
{ dropping seeds on the shors of lakes and streams.
' Various kinds of oranges grow from the east coast to the west, south from
an area that begins at Mandarin in Duval County, and extends diagonally south-
west across lower Alachua County to the Gulf coast near Brooksville. To the
north and west, over the remainder of the State, are many groves of the hardy
Satsuma orange. Besides oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and tangerines are
. · important sources of the fruit grower's income,

 F -12-
2 Both Central and South Florida begin citrus shipments in September, when
4 early season grapefruit ripens, and continue to July. The vegetable season of
the same regions begins in October, lasting until August. North Florida’s
vegetable shipments are made from December to August. West Florida's truck and
i staple harvest shows two distinct periods--September to January, and March to
August. Fruits and vegetables are grown commercially every month.
3 .

Annual Report of the
State Marketing Bureau 1936-37
Baker, Harry Lee Florida Forests and Forestry Nature Magazine 1929
Baker, Mary Francis Florida Wild Flowers Macmillan 1938
Baker, Mary Francis Florida’s Wild Flowers Nature Magazine(December)
Coe, Ernest F. Land of the Fountain of Youth, The Pamphlet
Report on Peat Deposits Florida State Geo-
logical Survey 1914
2 Gifford, John C. Florida Keys, with Special Department of
w Reference to Soil Productivity Agriculture 1935
Gifford, John C. List of Trees of the State Fla. Federation
of Florida of Women's Club 1909
Mattoon, W. R. Common Forest Trees of Florida Forestry
Florida Association 1930
Olmstead and Wharton Florida Everglades, The Pamphlet
Rogers, Julia Ellen Tree Book, The Doubleday—Doran 1931
Simpson, C. T. Florida Wild Life 1932 .
Simpson, C. T. ln Lower Florida's Wilds Putnam 1920
Simpson, C. T. Out of Doors in Florida Macmillan 1923
Small, J. K. Ferns of Florida Science Press 1931
Small, J. K. Florida Trees Small 1913
, From Field to Market State Marketing
' Bureau 1939
Stevenson, Nellie I. F1orida’s Trees Nature Magazine 1929
Stevenson, Nellie I. Pocket Guide to 60 Distinctive
Tropical Trees Stevenson 1933
Swinehart, Gerry Strange Are They Fruits Nature Magazine
(December) 1929