Notes From my Residency Journal
I was most impressed by the stunning old pine trees inside the preserve. They grow naturally and at random, not lined up in rows as I so often see them. They make a wonderful subject in the atmospheric light of early morning. We pulled off the road for a bit of discovery time among these beautiful and elegant trees.
Here is a little information about pines and how they grow in Florida, from: Florida's Nature
Pine Flatwoods are the most widespread eco-systems in Florida, occupying as much as 50% of Florida's land area. As the name states, the topography of a Flatwoods is relatively uniform, the soil is generally sandy, poorly drained & acidic with little organic content with a underlying layer of hardpan. This layer of hardpan also inhibits drainage in the wet season causing Flatwoods to be flooded for part of the year, experiencing alternating periods of flood and drought. The canopy is open, allowing plenty of sunlight to reach the understory plants.
The understory of a healthy Pine Flatwoods is regulated by regular fire, areas that burn more often have an understory dominated by grasses and diverse herbaceous plants, while those that experience less frequent fires have more leaf litter/debris with an understory dominated by shrubs. If fire is absent for long periods Pines will eventually be succeeded by Oaks and the subsequent development of of a closed canopy forest or Hammock which inhibits understory growth.
Saw palmetto, Wiregrass, Fetterbush, Tarflower, Gallberry, Blueberry, Broomsedge, Wax myrtle and St. Johnswort are a few of the plants common to Pine flatwoods habitats.