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Native Plants for Central Florida

By Mic McCarty, Field Trip Coordinator

Rosemallow. Photo: Joel Jackson

Last April, Tampa Audubon and Native Plant Society member Joel Jackson gave a wonderful talk on the value of native plants. Over 95% of our insects and bugs depend on just two to three native plants for foraging and reproduction.

Our birds feed on these same insects. Even the herbivores, like Northern Cardinals, need insects, larva, small spiders and other arthropods to feed their nestlings and young. Butterflies, bees and other arthropods help pollinate the various plants. Birds spread many of the seeds of plants, such as Coral Honeysuckle, Simpson Stopper and many more. Yards and other spaces made up of grass, tropical plants and other non-native species do very little for the natural environment and continued health of our ecosystem.

Joel’s talk delved into the value of many species of native plants available to the homeowner. Much of this information is available in general ways from sources like Plants For Birds from National Audubon. These sources are wonderful and useful, but Joel’s talk focused on central Florida’s immediate environment and conditions. Joel’s long experience with native plants results on a focused list of flora ideal for our hometown.

Unfortunately, the talk was not successfully recorded for sharing. However, Joel was generous and shared his list of plants along with their attributes, such as best moisture, flower color, season and comments. You can access this list by clicking Some Good Central Florida Native Plants for Wildlife.

Furthermore, Joel shared his PowerPoint presentation that we saved as a PDF file so that anyone with a computer or smart phone can access it. The presentation includes photographs, key information about 54 species of plants, such as size, growth rate, animals attracted and more. You can download or view the presentation here, Native Plants for Audubon.


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