Saturday, January 27, 2007

Stately Palms

This is a bend in the road, deep in Devil's Hammock Wildlife Management Area. You and I own this wonderful place together.
(This is where Jr. is learning the basics of driving a manual transmission.)
The tall stately palms are the focus here. Those are Sabal Palms and they are our state tree. Most folks I know just call them "Cabbage Palms" since the living core of the palm is edible and the main ingredient in "Swamp Cabbage". Harvesting that core kills the tree. It might seem a waste to do this, but the Cabbage Palm is very common and a cabbage harvester is killing very young palms that are low and brushy.
Having said that, I don't like swamp cabbage and don't harvest any of my palms, but if I did, I would take one once in awhile since they pop up everywhere in dense thickets. Like any natural resource, it's a matter of wise use and not overuse.
Cabbage palms are like apartment houses for a wide variety of critters. Bats, rats, roaches, scorpions, ratsnakes, beetles, birds, ... you name it and it might use some part of a palm. On my property, most of the palms are shorter than those in the picture. My palms are growing in more open terrain and tend to be shorter and fatter.
Tall palms like those in this picture tell me they were there when a much taller mature hardwood forest existed. They just don't get that tall and spindly unless they spend years snaking up through a forest canopy.
A mixed forest of hardwood species like magnolia, bay, tupelo, holly, oak, and cabbage palm is the essence of Florida woodlands. We call that a "hammock" from the Creek word, "hamaca", which means "shady place."
We have xeric, mesic, and hydric hammocks ... this one is hydric. It's quite wet under that canopy and some cypress are in the mix.
On the way into Gainesville, a developer has cleared away a similar hammock, and is building a subdivision.
The name of the subdivision?
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vicki said...

A picture is worth a thousand words, yes? But I just know I caught this posting mid-path so I'll be back in a bit. Off to Saturday market to check for stone crab claws.

Floridacracker said...

Mrs. FC's favorite food!

Laura said...

It's called The Preserve?? NO! LOL Why am I not surprised...
Actually, that sounds familiar. Is is in Haile Plantation?

Locally, developers moved in and bulldozed the last known orange grove in Pinellas county. Then they named it Thurston Groves, after the previous owner of the orange grove. He died and his survivors sold it to the developers.

There is not one single orange tree anywhere in the subdivsion.
But there are concrete walls with ceramic orange trees that are painted on tiles around the perimeter.
Just in case our kids forget what an orange tree looks like.

typical, wouldn't you say? ;)

Don't forget to instruct Junior to feel free to run them over if he sees them scouting the land out for new "preserves" !!!

Floridacracker said...

It is near Haile.
Your orange grove story sounds sadly familiar. Remember the famous Indian River groves of our childhood?
I bet there's not many of them left.

Susan said...

I live in South Florida, and I literally cry when I see more trees going down for strip malls and concrete. There is so little left here of the beauty that once existed. My husband and I can't wait to move away - we're looking at the Northwest part of the country - Idaho - to get away from so much land rape. It just breaks my heart. I swear if I meet a developer, he won't leave the room without wounds.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I can't believe how developers come in...clear away the existing natural habitat and then have the nerve to call it "THE PRESERVE."

hamaca- shady place
I'll think of this definition everytime I lay in my hammock.

SophieMae said...

Oh crud! Now I'm really bummed! The Preserve! Typical. Adding to the bummification... My home town is in Pinellas County. My father picked oranges till he got a better job. My mother worked in a packing house and I spent many after-school hours 'helping' out there. Gosh, I loved that place and cried when they tore it down.

I think I'm gonna need to spend the afternoon in the woods. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I maintain that Developers have a sense of humor, sick though it may be. They seem to enjoy naming their gated ghettoes after whatever it was that they rent asunder in order to construct said monstrosities.

Our newest travesty's name: "Big Cypress". 25,000 new homes built adjacent to the panther preserve. Maybe they should have called it "Panther Run" or something like that.

You know - just for a laugh.

Betsy said...

Because I HATE to see land cleared for development, and I LOVE nature, that's why I live in the middle of a city, in an apartment building.

I use my car only about every-other-day, and no natural area was destroyed so that I could have a quarter-acre lawn.

We do have a nice courtyard with oak trees, and I enjoy the chickadees on my window feeder. Every so often a Cooper's Hawk or a Red-tailed Hawk veers around, checking out the hunting grounds.

There are 120 apartments here on 3.5 acres, so the folks who live here have about 1/8 the impact that they would have if they all lived on quarter-acre lots in the suburbs.

Hurricane Teen said...

AIN'T THAT A HOOT! THE PRESERVE! I have a few subdivision names that are being developed right now:

Bartram Springs
Bartram Park
Walden Chase
Heritage Landing
The Reserve

Those developers...

Floridacracker said...

I'm always urging people to move to Idaho :)
I do know what you mean about the pace of development. It's painful.

It's marketing I guess. Enjoy your hammock.

Then they'll pressure the state to "do something" about these panthers...

Bless you for enjoying apartment life. Building up sure beats building out.

That's taking the name of Bartram in vain.