a Bird of Paradise -- Strelitzia reginae welcomes you to Florida. Named 'La Florida' -- "land of flowers" by Juan Ponce de Leon.
Spanish Bayonet -- Yucca aliofolia
"The question is not what you look at, but what you see." ~ Thoreau
Angelpod Blue Flag Iris -- Iris hexagona var. savannarum
"Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers - and never succeeding." ~ Gian Carlo Menotti
Pickerelweed bloom -- Pantederia cordata, draws an Orchid Bee, subfamily Euglossinae -- a female, from the pollen baskets. i think this is Euglossa dilemma, an introduced species. mostly solitary. about 1/2", with tongue around 1/3".
Brazilian Elodea -- Egeria densa, Frog's-Bit Family
"The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration." ~ Claude Monet
"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul." ~ Luther Burbank
Spider Lily -- Hymenocallis crassifolia
"In the relations of man with the animals, with the flowers, with the objects of creation, there is a great ethic, scarcely perceived as yet, which will at length break forth into light." ~ Victor Hugo -- Aimer, c'est agir.
“The life of man is as a flower’s.” ~ Maria Sibylla Merian, 1675.
The Rose family includes the Southern Dewberry -- Rubus trivialis.
'If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our lives would grow together
In sad or singing weather.' ~ "A Match" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Dainty Sulphur -- Nathalis iole, feeding on Common Beggar-Tick -- Bidens alba, blooms year-round, and draws a lot of nectar fan-followers.
'The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly.' ~ William Wordsworth
i think this may be a Monk Skipper -- Asbolis capucinus, visiting the Blue Morning Glory -- Ipomoea indica
‘I have loved flowers that fade,
Within whose magic tents
Rich hues have marriage made
With sweet unmemoried scents.’ ~ Robert Bridges, “I Have Loved Flowers that Fade”
Yellow Vigna aka Hairy Cowpea -- Vigna luteola, edible relative of Black-eyed Peas -- V. unguiculata and Mung Beans -- V. radiata.
“Botany, the eldest daughter of medicine.” ~ Johann Hermann Baas
Sabal Palmetto inflorescence -- Serenoa repens
'Let that which is to come be as it may,
Darkness, extinction, justice, life intense,
The flies are happy in the summer day,
Flies will be happy many summers hence.' ~ John Masefield, Sonnets, LII.
a Common Tickseed -- Coreopsis leavenworthii, provides stalking ground for a Lynx Spider, family Oxyopidae -- possibly a Green Lynx Spider -- Peucetia viridans.
Some Lynx Spiders use flowers to ambush insects drawn to the bloom. At least eighteen North American species.
"Guard himself as he may, every moment's an ambush." ~ Horace
Black Swallowtail (m) -- Papilio polyxenes
‘I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.’ ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill”
Lance-leaved Violet -- viola lanceolata
"The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks." ~ Tennessee Williams
'The true point of the spirit sways,
Not like a ghostly swan,
But as a vine, a tendril,
Groping toward a patch of light...' ~ T. Roethke, Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks, 1943-63.
What Spanish explorers called 'el lagarto' -- the lizard, was later formalized as Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), FL state reptile and threatened keystone species
"The alligator dominated the freshwater marshes of South Florida much as did the buffalo on the Great Plains before the white man appeared." ~ Frank C Craighead, 1968
Zebra Longwing -- Heliconius charitonius. the FL state butterfly is one no bird will eat.
'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying...' ~ from "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" by Robert Herrick
Black Vultures -- Coragyps atratus -- Zamuro, smallest of the three North American vultures, locates food by sight
'Words, let water from an unseen infinite Ocean
Come into this place as energy for the dying
and even the dead.' ~ Rumi
'On one side of silence there is no smile;
But when I breathe with the birds,
The spirit of wrath becomes the spirit of blessing,
And the dead begin from their dark to sing in my sleep.' ~ Roethke, "North American Sequence", 1964.
Turkey Vulture -- Cathartes aura, displays some significant wings as if to ask, "am i not also beautiful?"
'I never knew how beauty grew
from ugliness, until you flew ...' ~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas, recalled by David Brower during memorial services, 21 May 1998.
"If you yourself can withstand three cheers at beholding these vivacious fish, then heaven help ye; the spirit of godly gamesomeness is not in ye." ~ Herman Melville, "Moby Dick or The Whale", 1851
Manatee -- Trichechus manatus, nibbling at a clump of grass in a boat channel on Marco Island. Can consume 60-100 lbs of aquatic plants per day.
DYK: the word buccaneer comes from 'buccan,' a Mayan word for dried manatee meat. Pirates raiding Spanish treasure ships in the Caribbean relied on this food.
Propeller scars reveal one threat these gentle giants face. Record Manatee deaths in 2013 were caused by red tide.
"We do not know a truth without knowing its cause." ~ Aristotle
Brown Spiny Sea Star -- Echinaster spinulosus
"A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into." ~ Ansel Adams
Banded Tulip -- Cinctura lillium, a predatory gastropod
"Time sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a snail; but a man is happiest when he does not even notice whether it passes swiftly or slowly." ~ Ivan Turgenev
Apple Murex -- Phyllonotus pomum, another carnivorous snail of shallow waters
'...I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.' ~ from "Sea-Fever" by John Masefield
Banded-Arm Brittle Star -- Orphioderma appressum
"A nobler want of man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty." ~ R W Emerson
“The sea never changes and its works, for all the talk of men, are wrapped in mystery.” ~ Joseph Conrad
Florida Fighting Conch -- Strombus alatus, an algae eater
"In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration." ~ Ansel Adams
All three great animal groups -- mollusks, arthropods, and chordates -- display traits of worm ancestry.
'how do you know the moon
is moving: see the dry
casting of the beach worm
dissolve at the
delicate rising touch:
that is the
expression of sea level.
the talk of giants,
of ocean, moon, sun, of everything,
spoken in a dampened grain of sand.' ~ from "Expressions of Sea Level" by A. R. Ammons
Shark Eye -- Polinices duplicatus
"They say that God is everywhere, but we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse." ~ Emily Dickinson
Coquinas -- Donax variabilis, perhaps the most beautiful clams, thrive in the surf zone of sandy beaches.
"Far larger is the capital provided by nature and not by man -- and we do not even recognize it as such." ~ E F Schumacher
Netted Sea Star -- Luidia clathrata
"You must respect life forms for themselves rather than for their human uses... Learning humility and empathy is not an easy task, especially in today's industrialized society... At best, we are taught to appreciate nature as though it were merely a scenic attraction and not the source of life itself. Contrast these values with those of the Native American ... who understood in his heart and soul that his own survival depended upon their continued well-being." ~ Tom Brown Jr. 'Toward a Deeper Awareness', 1983.
Variegated Urchin -- Lytechinus variegatus, foraging over an exposed shoal during low tide.
'Let us be just with life. Although it bear
A thousand thorns for every perfect rose,
And though the happy day have mournful close,
Slumber awaits to house the mind from care.' ~ George Sterling, "The Balance"