As I mentioned in my Day 5 Posts, we stopped at a sinkhole lake to see some of the Red Florida filiformis plants. However, I didn’t take any photos there as my camera battery was dead. So I contacted my traveling companion, Jay Letchman, and he sent me a few pics to share.
First, these sinkhole lakes are located north of Panama City in the panhandle of Florida. The whole region is dotted with these things, some very small, others quite large, some dry, some filled with water. There are many seepage areas around these lakes, and its in these seeps and low areas you find these filiformis plants. In many cases the plants are growing white silica sand as shown here!
There was some speculation at one time that these plants were brought in by migrating birds from the filiformis sites in the north east. After seeing these plants a couple of times now… I really do not believe this to be the case, they are very different plants. My guess is that filiformis needs to be divided into three ssp, filiformis, tracyii and rubrafloridensis (LOL for lack of a real name).
The cool thing is that they can hybridize, so they are the same species, and what’s more cool is that the hybrids are not sterile. Below is a photo of an F1 cross between the red filiformis and tracyii.
There were a full range of colors in the area where tracyii and the florida red’s grew in proximity. We saw plants that looked like tracyii but had a slight blush of color, to very red plants that were much larger than the plants around them that were slightly lighter in color. Then there was everything in between.
If you look very carefully in the above photo, you will see the “pure” red filiformis in the bottom right, a larger red hybrid to to the left. Again on the left but up higher, a hybrid leaning more toward tracyii and finally at the top right, leaves of tracyii.
This was a really amazing site to see. A big thanks to Randy Zerr for taking us there 🙂 and a big thanks to Jay for sending me some photos to share!