Today, as I walked to the pool, I noticed the grass beside the sidewalk. I’m not referring to lovely thick green grass like that on golf courses; I’m talking about the stuff that survives in high traffic areas next to sidewalks here and there.
I noticed large patches of green (probably about a foot or more in diameter). In Michigan, those clumps would have been made up of sweet green clover. At first (from a distance), I thought I was approaching a clover patch and looked forward to hunting for a four-leaf (which I frequently do when I spot clover in Michigan.) But this morning, the weeds which filled the area were strange to me. These were multi-leafed, growing much like clover, but many leaves on straight stems.
There is NO clover that I’ve seen in Florida.
I miss Michigan vegetation. Down here we have no spring flowers (lilac, tulips, crocus, daffodil). There are no maple trees, Michigan oaks, elms, birch trees, willow, white pine and spruce. None of those grow here in our central area of Florida (or, if they are here, I haven’t spotted them.)
In Florida we have a native tree called an oak complete with acorns, but the leaves don’t look at all like the lobed leaves of a Michigan oak tree. Our Florida oaks are often festooned with Spanish moss which sways like a dancer’s skirt but these aren’t the oaks of my youth.
And here in Florida, we have a whole host of palms which could never survive in Michigan, but I can’t begin to identify any of the various sub-species of palms.
I need to go back to Girl Scouts or summer camp. In summer camp, we were required to identify lots of trees by their leaves and as a Girl Scout, I won a merit badge for identifying trees.
Maybe with that incentive I’d learn the difference between date palms, fan palms, queen palms, royal palms and areca palms.
I somehow feel that if I could identify the vegetation here in Florida, I’d feel even more that is my home permanent home. Afterall, I can tell you about the maple trees I climbed as a child in Midland, or the white pines that have grown with unbelievable speed at our place in the U.P. But I can’t tell you what the “red bottle brush” is actually called. I just know it’s pretty.
It’s kind of a trade-off. Down here, in addition to the palms, we enjoy colorful hibiscus, birds of paradise, gardenias, and many sensitive plants that we use as “house plants” in Michigan but here in Florida grow outdoors.
Bottle Brush Tree Flower: