a chill February found me exploring a lonely trail in search of flowers and their attendant butterflies… Possibly a bear if I could see one. It was after all why I had picked an early morning and this particular trail that skirted a vast South West Florida marsh As I rounded an area looking down as I hiked I came across a small grouping, just a very few plants, of Nodding Ladies Tresses (Spiranthes odorata) Orchids. I had never seen these in my travels so it was pretty exciting! Nodding Ladies Tresses grow low and are rather small and they tend to blend in with the rest of, well, everything in the grasses. The blooms only last about a week or two so I was very lucky to come across them. Nodding Ladies Tresses are a ground orchid with just a few leaves and this wonderful flower spike that comes up about a foot. My book on Wild Orchids of Florida says that these are seen from South Dakota, east to Nova Scotia, south to Texas and in Florida. If you are lucky to see them in your area, take only photos and leave nothing behind but footprints… Orchids are protected in many States.
Now is a perfect time go out on the Nature Trails to see wildflowers in bloom! The trails are lined with delicate, native Petunias as well as other species of flower in many color ranges. I was particularly taken by the small purple color Peas, called the “Purple Butterfly Pea.” These viney, climbing little Pea plants are all along the trails. At one point I noticed a little Bouquet of native flowers all entwined in one another.
My image below shows a Purple Butterfly Pea running up a wild Sensitive Plant, on its own a delicate looking plant with dainty alternating leaflets and small yellow flowers. The Sensitive Plant flowers Spring, Summer, Fall and into early Winter. The Butterfly Pea flowers Spring and Summer – I’ve seen quite a few Peas in bloom here in Lehigh, mainly in wild unkept lots where it is dry.
Too many people seem to think, or I should say have been conditioned, via TV, Homeowners and Condo Associations, Media etc.. that if it’s not a green grass, highly manicured, of a certain height, it is to eliminated from existence. What an absolute shame… a shame for the native species that miss out on homes, and a shame for the amount of water and pesticides it takes for maintaining these little perceived “Oases” of green. If left to her own devices Mother Nature will provide a beautiful landscape that needs little maintenance, and provide homes for many species. Everything in Nature is dependant on something else for existence.