Miami plants in Yachang

Friday, May 28, 2010

By Jennifer Possley

Over the past few days, Hillary and I have been enjoying our hikes through Yachang Orchid Preserve.  Ecologically, the preserve has much in common with Miami's natural areas.  Both are at similar latitudes, and both are considered to be subtropical.  In addition, both have a karst limestone substrate-- though the substrate in Yachang is definitely more dramatic!  But because of these similarities, Miami and Yachang share many of the same plant genera and species.  Scroll down to see some of them  for yourself!

 

This passionvine looks very similar to Miami's own endangered Passiflora sexflora.

 

 

Hillary took this gorgeous shot of a shrub in the Melastomataceae family.  In Miami, we have a single native species in the Melastomataceae:  Tetrazygia bicolor (West Indian lilac).

 

 

The grass in the foreground here is Imperata cylindrica or "cogon grass," one of the world's worst weeds.  Cogon grass is actually native to China.  Here it is blooming-- something it rarely does in Florida.

 

 

 

Miami has three common species of Smilax vine (S. auriculata, S. bona-nox, and S. havanensis).  This Chinese member of the genus has much larger leaves than any of the Miami species.

 

 

 

This beetle is sitting atop a non-native shrub that is actually one of Miami's native pine rockland plants: Chromolaena odorata.  In Miami pine rocklands it can proliferate in disturbed areas.  Here in the Guangxi province, it is a ubiquitous roadside weed.

 

 

Here is another one of Florida's weeds:  Lygodium sp.  I'm not sure what species of climbing fern is in this photo, but Lygodium microphyllum and L. japonicum are both major problems in Florida's natural areas.