Tag Archives: Plants

Shrub-maritime communities

Shrub-to-maritime communities at the upland portion of the Little Tybee Island marsh complex, including a brackish slough. Salt spray and saltwater intrusion may be responsible for dwarfed growth of some of the trees, including some of the pine (Pinus sp.), live oak (Quercus sp. ) and Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).

Spanish moss seed

Whenever introducing land plants to students, I emphasize Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) as neither Spanish—it looks like a bearded conquistador—nor moss—it’s an angiosperm or flowering plant. Here’s the proof: wind-dispersed seeds protected by a recently split, dried pod. Mosses lack flowers, fruits, and seeds.

Also evident are the flaky trichomes, which help the plant to soak up moisture and nutrients from the atmosphere. It’s not parasitic like mistletoe nor do the live, hanging bunches contain chiggers.

Juniperus virginiana cones and berries

A couple of weeks ago, the Southern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) began to produce cones and drop pollen in the Savannah area. The longleaf and loblolly pine also seem to be going, covering vehicles with a thick coat of yellow dust.

Check out the pollen!

A few junipers have berries present still.

Cyathea

Tree fern from the Wilson Botanical Garden.

I’ve made many tree fern posts because they are bizarre (at least as someone who grew up in the Neartic) and fantastic. While there is one on the Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus, it dies back in the winter and February 2018 was particularly harsh—I haven’t seen it return.