Sunday, February 14, 2010

Water Fern

Below, you see yet another exotic species mucking around in the Florida ecosystem.

Notice the surface of the water?
Of course you don't.

That's because it's covered entirely by a mat of Salvinia minima, a type of water fern.

You can bet there are no submerged plants growing in what must be almost total darkness beneath that cover of Salvinia.
We have a native water fern called Azolla, which is what I thought this was going to be when I first arrived at Haws Creek. I've seen mats of azolla before, but nothing so extensive as this salvinia ... I suppose that may be due to the fact that azolla is a native and therefore has checks and balances on it's population.
Azolla turns out to be a pretty amazing plant, a high protein nitrogen fixer that is an excellent green manure and feed supplement for livestock. The recent rains have filled our ditches and bunched up azolla along the shore where a guy like me can dip some up without even getting his feet wet ... not that I mind that much.
I'm going to go scoop some up and bring it back to my tanks for a little experimentation.
In the meantime, remember ... Salvinia bad, Azolla good.

Gratuitous hawk picture thrown in, just in case water ferns do not excite you.
He supervised me while I was dipping out the Salvinia for the picture.
Oh yeah ... I almost forgot ...
Happy stupid holiday y'all.


edifice rex said...

yeah, stupid holiday..!

A beautiful smaller hawk flew alongside my truck as I cruised down my driveway the other day. It was cool!

threecollie said...

Stupid holiday except for the chocolate part.... Interesting post. I like to read about things like this...up here we have water chestnut and milfoil etc.

Lynn said...

We had this hawk stop on our privacy fence a couple of days ago. We thought it was injured at first since we live in a pretty populated area, but that hawk just sat there looking around. No little birds or squirrels around, just my cat. A squirrel made it fly to another spot which made my cat chase it. Hawk is bigger than the cat so not sure what she planned on doing with it if she caught up to it!

Sayre said...

We have problems with hydrilla in Wakulla Springs. It's such a shame to see our natural waterways clogged with these plants...

LJ said...

I feed the birds from my balcony and we have a hawk that comes by every once in a while and throws the birds in a tizzy. One day, the hawk flew through a tree (really! It's an open plan tree;) and under our balcony (almost hitting the wall) and then out. He was after the doves hanging out on the balcony railing. It was amazing. I've never seen anything like it (and neither had my cat;)

Anyway, how come all these invasive species seem to thrive in our conditions here? Just once it would be nice if it worked the other way.

cndymkr / jean said...

Love the hawk photo. Happy Chocolate Day to you too.

cinbad122 said...

Well, thank goodness you got out to take some pictures! First you whine about not getting pictures, now you're whining about a holiday! Personally I love President's Day because I get a day out of work! I think I will get you some cheese for Valentine's Day! LOL Don't worry...I think that one is pretty stupid as well. ;)

lisa said...

My kind of post, birds and plants!

Pablo said...

Stupid holiday? You jest, of course!

The duckweed that covers ponds and lakes around here is also known for being good cattle feed, but I don't think anyone is intentionally cultivating it.

Floridacracker said...

To clear up a little confusion... I mean't Valentines Day when I said "stupid holiday" ... this is the 14th.

President's Day is not stupid ... neither is it today. It's tomorrow.

Actually ... President's Day is not exactly a brilliant idea either.

Aunty Belle said...

okay...I'll bite. Why's it a stupid holiday?

Nice hawk.

Miz S said...

Toughen up, old man! Are you crabby because no one baked you a heart-shaped cake?

Ericka said...

i saw a HUGE buzzard on a dead deer today, but it took off before i could even pull over, much less grab the camera. *sigh* cool pictures though.

i like the little finger things on the leaves - i'll bet they feel neat.

Floridacracker said...

I just think VD is about the silliest "holiday" in the solar system, although "Galarznyzk Dtak" on Mars runs a close second.

Do I need the card, flower, and candy companies to tell me when to express my feelings?
My hippie friends Robin and Roger(The New Dharma Bums) on the left coast have the right idea on that.
(Hey, I made a funny in that last sentence)
As for the Martian holiday,... "Galarznyzk Dtak" roughly translates into "celebrate iron oxide with abundant joy".
As if ...

Miz S,
Weird. She did actually.
Was I crabby?

Same here, but it was an EAGLE! He flew off of course.

cinbad122 said...

I have to give you a hard is my J-O-B!

Floridacracker said...

And you are soooo darn good at it!

Miz S said...

Nah, you weren't crabby. I just had to pretend you were so I could say "Toughen up, old man." It's my new favorite expression, dontcha know?