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Cypress Lakes Preserve Get-Oriented Hike

posted Jan 31, 2014, 3:19 PM by Hernando Chapter Florida Native Plant Society
Cypress Lakes Preserve: 2014 Get Oriented Hike, January 20 2014
Present: Jude Simpson, Sue Blakeman, Miki Renner, Mark Hutchinson, Pam Murfey, and Paulie Campbell

We met at the main entrance to the preserve, on Paul Steckle Drive, off of Cortez Blvd just East of the Withlacoochee River to do a brief review of the project and the goals for the day. We used the CLP management unit map provided by Jim King as a guide, as this map shows both the Florida Trail and many of the service trails.

The main goals for the day were to start getting the group familiar with the Preserve and to try out some tools for collecting data. We found the checklist that I had prepared (based on the 2004 survey, and sorted by Latin name) was too cumbersome to start with in the field. The group decided to name and save a waypoint for different places that we stopped along the Florida Trail, and to list the plant families, genera and species that we found in that location. Lucille volunteered to be the recorder, Pam took close-ups of interesting finds and Paulie took pictures and saved locations with his google maps phone app.

We did not try to confirm species id for most plants, but instead noted a tentative name or plant group so we could follow up another trip. Although we did not hike a long distance, we went through several of the different plant communities that are found in this preserve: bottomland hardwood, mesic hammock and cypress swamp during the first part of the trip, and later after moving to the upland entrance near Forge Rd, we traversed the recently burned areas of Sandhill, seasonally wet prairie, scrub. and arrived at the smaller of the lakes that are still holding water, which we named “East Lake” for purposes of this survey.

Some of our finds included: Many different hardwoods and some pines, shrubs such as Strawberry Bush (Heart’s a bustin) and Sparkleberry, and of course Cypress. Common groundcover included hypericum sp, bidens sp., and coreopsis sp. We enjoyed a break in an open area and found Cloudless Sulphur butterflies sheltering beneath the eye level branch of an old Live oak adorned with Resurrection fern, bromeliads and Green-fly orchid seed pods.

Later in the uplands we found the seed heads of an amazing variety of fall wild flowers, what appeared to be an emerging patch of sky-blue lupines, abundant blueberries in bud, wiregrass in seed, Florida Rosemary, and many other shrubs, vines and groundcovers.

To top it off, we found colonies of sundews around the edge of East Lake, along with several tiny yellow Zig-zag bladderworts.

It was a true pleasure to be out in this beautiful preserve exploring and botanizing with the group, sharing each other’s knowledge and excitement. It’s going to be an amazing adventure! To be continued.

For more about the project, see our previous article.
Hernando Chapter Florida Native Plant Society,
Jan 31, 2014, 3:19 PM
Hernando Chapter Florida Native Plant Society,
Jan 31, 2014, 3:19 PM