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Plants & Wild Flowers

Trees, shrubs and wild flowers you may see on your trail ride.

You will pass an abundance of trees, shrubs and wild flowers as the trail winds through the different ecosystems of the forest.

Organic matter, soil moisture, and slope determine the mix of plants. The hydric hammock is wet; the xeric hammock is dry; the mesic hammock is in-between.

Plants and wild flowers that are native to Florida attract various native species of animals, including butterflies and their larvae (caterpillars).

 

Common Nightshade (Solanum americanum) Common Nightshade
Solanum americanum
A small shrubby or low plant - small white flowers are reminiscent of those seen on potato and tomato plants, since they are closely related. Solanaceae (nightshade) family.

 
Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea) Coralbean
Erythrina herbacea
One of the first showy, blooms in the early spring. Bright red spike of flowers usually precedes the leaves. Stems are thorny. The name coralbean refers to the beautifully colored seeds which become apparent when the seed pods split open. Fabaceae (pea or bean) family
 
Florida Elder - Southern Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis/simpsonii) Florida Elder - Southern Elderberry
Sambucus canadensis/simpsonii
Large woody shrubs. Prominent display of small white rounded heads, up to 10 inches in diameter. Blooms throughout the Spring and early summer. Found outside and along the sides of the Forest trail entrance. Black fruits (elderberries) in the Fall are excellent for making jellies, pies, and wine. Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle)
 
Florida Violet (Viola floridana) Florida Violet
Viola floridana
Found throughout the state in both wooded and open areas. The heart shaped leaves serve to differentiate this from other native violets in Florida.
Violaceae (Violet) family.
 
Frostweed (Verbesina virginica) Frostweed
Verbesina virginica
Following the blooming period in the late summer and fall, these attractive seed heads remain on the expired plants throughout the following season. The large green leaves of the current year's plants can always be found nearby. Asteraceae (aster) family.


 
Greeneyes (Berlandiera subacaulis) Greeneyes
Berlandiera subacaulis
Preponderant flowering plant in the high dryer areas. Found throughout most of the year. Asteraceae (aster) family.

 

Indian Mustard or Leaf Mustard (Brassica juncea) Indian Mustard or Leaf Mustard
Brassica juncea
Tall annual with brightly colored flowers that have a typical mustard configuration. After blooming in January, the flowers are followed by elongated fusiform seed pods (siliques), which remain as multiple rocket-like stalked extensions on the upper part of the lifeless dried plants. Striking appearance while in bloom. Brassicaceae (mustard) family.
 
Innocence
Hedyotis procumbens
Low creeping plants. The Small flowers have four white petals, with yellow colored central areas.  Rubiaceae (madder) family.

 
Jack-in the Pulpit
Arisaema tryphyllum
Found in early spring in the hydric (low wet) area. Without the flowers, the set of three shiny leaves resembles poison ivy. Like many closely related plants, its tissues contain sharp crystals of calcium oxalate (raphides), which, if ingested, produce a prolonged sensation of stinging and swelling of the mouth tissues. Araceae (arum) family
 
Lyre-leaf Sage
Salvia lyrata
Common beautiful weedy annual. Blooms profusely along the entrance road and around the Welcome Desk, in January, and February. Its name is derived from the fact that the leaves comprising the basal rosette are that is, divided transversely into several lobes, the smallest at the base. Lamiaceae (mint) family.
 
Prickly Pear Cactus
Opuntia bumifusa
Spiny, oval flattened stems are tightly joined together at narrowed connection sites. The showy, flower is followed by an edible pulpy, reddish many seeded fruit. Found scattered throughout the Forest. Cactaceae (cactus) family.
 
Primrose Willow
Ludwigia peruviana
Herbaceous to woody perennials. Found in and around swampy ditches where it often forms large thickets. Outside Forest entrance. Onagranaceae (evening primrose) family
 
Rouge Plant
Rivina bumilis
The name of the plant refers to the moderately indelible orange-red juice in the berries, which are preceded by inconspicuous white Flowers. Seen in disturbed areas along the trails. Phytolaccaceae (pokeweed) family

 
Rusty Lyonia
Lyonia ferruginea
Very, fragrant bell shaped flowers in April and May. Note the strong characteristic downturning of the leaf margins and the rusty, appearance of the stems. Ericaceae (heath) family.

 
Wild Orchid
Cyrtopodium punctatum
Orchids have been around since the prehistoric ages. At the dawn of the dinosaurs, orchids were blooming the exotic shapes of this mysterious flower, that we can still admire in the Florida forests.

 
Yellow Jasmine
Jasminum floridum
This highly ornamental climbing or trailing plant is abundant in parts of the forest, its slender stems festooned over trees making its presence known by the delightful perfume from its flowers, filling the air with fragrance that is almost overpowering. The smooth, shining stems of this vine sometimes reach a length of 20 feet.  The flowers, which appear from January to April, are bright yellow, about 1 inche long are very fragrant but poisonous.
 
Spanish Needles
Bidens alba
Common weedy plant. It is usual not to have a complete set of ray florets, giving the flowers an asymmetrical or incomplete took. Bidens refers to the two pointed teeth on the seeds, which cause them to stick to clothing as "booby lice". Alba refers to the white floral petals. Found throughout the year along the Forest trails, and in many disturbed areas. Asteraceae (aster or daisy) family.
 
Spiderwort
Tradescantia obiensis
Bright blue-violet colored flowers appear fresh and vigorous each morning, only to become wilted and dried by the afternoon. Found along the Forest trails throughout the wet periods of the year. Commelinaceae (spiderwort or dayflower) family.

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Contact Information      Horseback Trail Rides - 1020 Camp Road, Cocoa FL 32927
Telephone                          321-632-7085
E-mail                            shirley@floridahorsebacktrailrides.com

 
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