The Great Florida Outdoors

Dr. Robert Norman, Clinical Professor, Dermatology, Nova Southeastern University

What lives on this tree?

While kayaking, I paddled underneath this tree and looked at it carefully. On the left of the tree was the resurrection fern.

Resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides)

Resurrection fern is an epiphyte that attaches to branches of forest trees and sometimes upon rocks or dry ground. When dry the resurrection fern looks like it is dying—shrinking into curly gray and brown. But when moisture returns, the fronds resurrect and become soft and green, unfurling to regain its original shape. (Floridata Plant Encyclopedia)

This was in the middle of the tree. Poison ivy.

As your read the landscape and enjoy outdoor activities, keep in mind that particular native plants— poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and poisonwood—can make for a bad day. Each of these contain urushiol, a plant oil that can cause a severe skin rash (dermatitis) when any part of the plant is contacted. Allergic reaction can occur by direct contact or indirectly by contact with the oil on animals, clothes, shoes, tools, or other items. Smoke from burning plants spreads oil particles that can be inhaled and cause lung irritation.

Source: Sydney Park Brown, associate professor emeritus, Environmental Horticulture Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.UF/IFAS (University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences).

And this was on the right part of the tree:

The Florida Banded Water Snake is non-venomous and active mainly at night. The snake may be found during the day sunning on banks or vegetation hanging over the water. The Florida banded water snake feeds on fish, frogs, salamanders, crayfish, and tadpoles. Mating occurs in spring and the snake bears live young in summer.

Get out and explore the Great Florida Outdoors!

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