The Sun White Citrus Collection



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Beyond the Surf Pt.2: Getting Closer to Florida's Heartbeat

Declared a National Natural Monument in 1964, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a splendid example of Florida’s native ecosystem diversity. Major vegetation communities include the pine flatwood forests, wet prairies, central marsh wetlands, lettuce lakes, sawgrass & pond cypress wet forests and... perhaps most importantly, North America's largest intact stand of bald cypress wet forest. What follows is a wee bit of resource links to pictures, websites, and music you might find interesting:

Image hosted by
by HarborStar

In southwestern Florida in the beginning of the century, the strands of bald cypress extended miles and miles. In those virgin bald cypress stands were giants towering 130 feet, with girths of 25 feet -- an awesome sight before the onslaught of the lumbermen in the 1920's. A remnant of that virgin forest, now the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a veritable living museum piece, escaped the destruction in the nick of time just as the cutting crews were coming upon it. It is now the largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress in the country... The Acquisition and Development of the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, 1952-1967 by Carl W. Buchheister

Descriptions taken from the Audubon Center self guided tour.

The roots of the strangler fig (Ficus aurea) left are often thought to be vines growing on a host tree. Strangler figs can grow like a normal tree from the ground up; they also may start high up in another tree and send roots down to the ground. As the roots grow, they wrap around the host tree, sometimes killing it. At Corkscrew, frost limits strangler fig growth and they do not kill their host trees. The fig fruit is a favorite of pileated woodpeckers.

At least twelve species of air plants (Tillandsia sppright are found within the swamp sanctuary, each one related to the pineapple. All of them epiphytes, or plants that grow on other plants without the aid of soil, but they are not parasites, doing no harm to the host tree. Nutrients are taken from falling organic debris and rainfall trapped by the plant. Several Corkscrew Sanctuary epiphytes are on the State Protected Plant List as endangered or threatened.


No comments: