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Thread: Catopsis in Florida

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    astateen's Avatar
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    Catopsis in Florida

    I had the opportunity this past labor day weekend to camp in the Florida Keys to do research in that area with my advisor and a few other students. The keys are amazing to visit and they have many interesting plants and animals to see. Last March when I was there, I went to two nature preserves in Key Largo and Homestead that had reports of Catopsis. None were found, much to my disappointment. This time around, I did not bring my car as we all road in a van, so I accepted the fact that I would not be able to go on away on any botanical trips. But the keys do not disappoint. Yesterday morning after packing up the campsite, we left back for Georgia. Along US 1 between Key Largo and Homestead, I finally saw Catopsis! It was unmistakable with its large fluorescent yellow-green tank and tall flower spike standing out so boldly under the pink morning sky. I never knew they got so large! It grew on a scrubby buttonwood bush in the grassy area of the glades with occasional hammocks of stunted buttonwood and mangrove. The habitat looked secure- it was on protected land and a tall barbed wire fence prevented potential poachers from accessing the plant from the road. Also, it was a plant you had to look out for to find. I had to concentrate on the landscape for the entirety of the trip along that road to see one plant. I wish I had a picture but I was riding in the back of the van at 40mph. It is so neat that after so much searching, this rarity was right in front of me and the thousand other travelers along this road the whole time!

    So had anyone else seen roadside Catopsis, or any good roadside epiphytes for that matter? Please don't provide specific location info as any poacher could happen upon this forum. But hearing other stories would be nice.

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    Aaaaarrrgh! Been to Key Largo 3 times...and now I find out that Catopsis grows there.... I just NEED to go there once again!

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    The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever Plant Planter's Avatar
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    I knew that Tillandsia grow all over the place in Florida, but Catopsis? Now, that's different! I'd love to see them! Any other epiphytes you know of?

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    Did you see any pings? That area of Florida has several color variations of P. pumila.

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    astateen's Avatar
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    I did see P. pumila in Big Pine Key. I have a post with pics. Other epiphytes there include orchids like Encyclia tampensis. Epidendrum magnoliae is another- but it grows in north Florida along the coastal plain to North Carolina! Who knew? A cold hardy epiphytic orchid in the southeast!

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