Saturday, June 07, 2008

Florida Means Flowers

If memory serves, and it's been a long time since I got out of school, Florida was named for the many flowers that greeted the early Spanish explorers when they arrived. It's gotten even worse since then, since they've imported dozens and dozens of non-native species into the state. But at least it's pretty. One of my favorites is the Royal Poinciana, which is the red one you see in the top of the picture above. These trees are everywhere, and they're all blooming right now. They range from bright red to a brilliant orange (seen below), the orange being the rarer of the two. Maybe it's just not as popular. Some of the trees fall in between these two color extremes, and aren't as attractive as either pure color. The purple in the picture above is bougainvillea. Sometimes it gets big enough that you mistake it for a tree, but it's usually a large shrub. The biggest one I've ever seen was at Sunken Gardens in St. Pete. The trunk had to be six inches around an it towered more than 50 feet overhead. Heaven knows how old it was. These come in all sorts of reds, purples, pinks and oranges.

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