Tag Archives: Skidaway Island State Park

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.

Palmetto Tortoise Beetle

There are all kinds of cool things about this Chrysomelidae tortoise beetle (Hemisphaerota cyanaea) on the internet, including:

And look closely… there are POLLEN grains all over the little beetles. Can you imagine having hundreds of sticky bouncy-ball-size pollen grains attached to your body and eyes!? The micro-world of biology is fascinating.

Brown-headed Nuthatch

A first spot for me (although I’ve probably seen them before and had misidentified them as red- or white-breasted nuthatches because I learned the nuthatches of Ohio, not Georgia), the brown-headed nuthatch is markedly smaller than other nuthatches, and a few of them hang out near the entrance to the trails at Skidaway Island State Park—they’re an easy bird to watch and their behavioral quirks make them fun too; hanging out upside-down, diving, pecking, all kinds of cools stuff.

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.