Monday, January 19, 2015

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary- Part Two

This swamp has the largest strand of old growth virgin bald cypress in the nation- some of them 500 to 600 years old.  The hike we took on the boardwalk took us past some of the larger and older trees of the swamp, many of which have interpretive signs giving information regarding their statistics.
Pictured above is Leopold, named after Aldo Leopold father of the modern conservation ethic.  It is 500-600 years old and stand 98 feet tall.  Hurricanes have cost it the top as well as some of the branches, leaving a massive trunk which, at chest height, is 22 feet around.
Floating on the surface of the water in the picture above is the swamp's smallest fern, which is salvinia.  It is rootless but one of its three leaves hangs below the surface of the water acting as a root-like structure.
Pictured above is water lettuce, another floating aquatic which covers wide expanses of the swamp in some areas.  It has an expansive root system which provides shelter for small fish and crayfish.  Unlike regular lettuce, it is toxic to people.  If you look closely at the picture you may notice an alligator on the log.  Cypress knees are near the log, as well as a dead leaf of the alligator flag.  That aquatic plant prefers deep water, so where that plant is there are alligators- hence early alligator hunters give it that name.
I mentioned the pickerel weed in a previous posting- hope you can find its purple cone-like flower in the picture above.  Many butterflies like the nectar of this marsh plant.
The prettiest flower which we found blooming in the swamp, in many places, is the swamp lily.  White-tailed deer find this plant to be a tasty snack. 
Seems like I have covered a lot in these two postings on Corkscrew Swamp.  It was a wonderful experience being there and we were help by park rangers as well as Audubon volunteers who would leave little signs pointing to plants or birds which might be seen.  They also willingly shared their high-powered telescopes, making it possible for us to get a better view of birds as well as plants.  I know that I would have missed a beautiful yellow orchid on a tree off in the distance without their help!

No comments:

Post a Comment