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Join the Team: Cypress Lakes Preserve Native Plant Survey

posted Nov 1, 2013, 11:16 AM by Hernando Chapter Florida Native Plant Society   [ updated Nov 1, 2013, 11:22 AM ]
by Jude Simpson, President HCFNPS

Plant Survey to be Conducted:  November 2013 to December 2014.

Members of the Hernando Chapter FNPS and their friends will assist Jim King, Hernando County Conservation Lands Specialist, to update the plant list for Cypress Lakes, one of our county’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Preserves. Such surveys are important for many reasons: They help measure the success of habitat restoration, detect rare or endangered populations, and catch infiltration by exotic invasive plant species. They're also a great experience for the participants, and you are invited lend your skills to the effort.

About the Preserve
Cypress Lakes Preserve is a 331acre preserve is located at the intersection of State Road 50 and Ridge Manor Boulevard near Ridge Manor in the eastern part of Hernando County. The address of the main trail head is: 32375 Cortez Blvd., Ridge Manor, FL 34602 (see map).

The preserve is a mosaic of plant communities, including wetlands and uplands. This means that the preserve is also a great place to see birds and other wildlife. Due to a lot of restoration work, including a recent burn (see above, photo: Judith Simpson), the Sand Hill and Scrub are bursting with wildflowers. Summer rains filled the marshes and meadows, making it a good year for wetland species.

A plant list created in 2004 includes about 350 species, based on a multi-season survey. The survey report also includes information about the frequency of species found in different natural communities. On recent walks, getting familiar with the trails and the plants, we have seen many of the species that are on the 2004 CLP Plant list. We also found at least two species that were not noted as present in 2004. These are White Sabatia (Sabatia difformis, to the right) and a variety of Sand Squares or Nailwort (Peronchia sp., below right).

More about Cypress Lakes Preserve at:

The Plant Survey Method
We are developing data collection methods now, to field test and refine. Small groups will collect information in different sections of the preserve, using consistent methods. This will be repeated quarterly in 2014.
The combined knowledge and skill of each group should include:
  • Orientation to the preserve
  • Knowledge of common native plants in this area, and ability to spot uncommon plants.
  • Plant photography skills
  • Recording skills
  • GPS skills
  • Knowledge of herbarium collection techniques
We will use a paper checklist form as well as photographs, voice recorded notes, GPS data, and occasionally we will collect herbarium specimens.

We also need people who like to do the sleuthing to ID unknown plants, or who can serve as a resource for a particular plant family, or who are willing to look up species information, such as bloom and fruiting times, and the identifying characteristics of plants that are obscure or easily confused.

Shown left: Balduina angustifolia, one of many yellow daisy-like flowers that can be encountered—and must be identified—at the preserve as part of the project.

How you can help

Several people signed up at a recent meeting. For those who were not there, please consider yourselves invited. We will have another sign up sheet at our November meeting. Meanwhile anyone who wants to start joining us on our walks and preparation can contact the Board at or call Jude Simpson, 352 345-2173.

This is a great opportunity to have fun, do something good, and learn a lot. Please consider getting involved in some way—hunt plants on foot in the uplands, canoe among the cypress, or surf at home doing botanical research on your computer. If you love learning about plants and love our natural spaces, WE NEED YOU!!

Hernando Chapter Florida Native Plant Society,
Nov 1, 2013, 11:22 AM
Hernando Chapter Florida Native Plant Society,
Nov 1, 2013, 11:21 AM