Additional Resources:
    Full Plant List
    FL Exotic Pest Council
    Natives of Polk Co.
    Wetland Invasives & Natives
    More Invasives
    A Current FDEP Model

Wildlife Resources:
    Birds of Polk County Florida
    Snakes of Florida

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The Critical Need to Re-establish Native Plants on Phosphate Mining Clay Settling Pond Areas.

Whether it is using our eucalyptus and cottonwood trees for (A) commercial forestry or (B) as a "bridge crop" to establish native uplands -- stabilizing the forest floor with native plants to control cogongrass is critical.

Remember that at initial development as a tree farm, the site was a prairie of cogongrass (and not much else).

Please Note: Species of plants that are currently very dominant on the Tree Farm are highlighted in Blue.

Harmful Non-Native and Native Plants Currently Present

Common Name:
Scientific Name
EPPC Category
Imperata cylindrica
Very severe in sunny areas
Tropical Soda Apple
Solanum viarum
Brazilian Pepper
Schinus terebinthifolius
Seedlings prevalent in tree understory.
Caesars's Weed
Urena lobata
Very dominant in sun or shade
Chinese Tallow
Sapium sebiferum
Morning Glory
Ipomoea indica
Severe, kills younger trees.
Climbing aster
Aster carolinianus
Severe, kills younger trees.
Smilax spp.
Another vine that kills/dwarfs younger trees.
Japanese climbing fern
Lygodium japonicum
Becoming more prevalent in tree understory.
Mimosa Tree
Albizia julibrissin
Not dominant to cause damage.
Twinleaf Nightshade
Solanum diphyllum
Identified by FIPR
Virgin's Bower Vine
Clematis catesbyana
Kills younger trees.
Cyperus rotundus
Very aggressive causing young tree mortality.
Lantana camara?
Can be dominant in sunny areas.

Beneficial Natives Currently Present

Common Name:
Scientific Name
Creeping Dayflower
Commelina diffusa
Very first native pioneers dominant in understory.
Southern Shield Fern
Thelypteris kunthii
Appeared after 2nd year. Now very prevalent in understory
Baccharis halimifolia
Becoming prevalent in understory
Present but not common
Aeschynomena americana
Pea family. Present but not common.
Red Maple
Acer rubrum
Seedlings very prevalent, but not growing to trees
Virginia Creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Present, but more common in sunny areas.
Sambucus canaensis
Rare, but in sunny, open, and wet areas.
Pepper Vine
Ampelopsis arborea
Appears to co-habitat with trees better than other vines.
Spanish Needle
Bidens alba
Very common, may explain large butterfly population.
American Beautyberry
Callicarpa americana
Started appearing in 2nd year -- very random.

Initially Dominant Sun Loving Plants Now Disappearing In Shaded Tree Understory

Common Name:
Scientific Name
Primrose Willow
Ludwigia peruviana
Dwarfs growth in young trees, but does not appear to cause mortality.
Wild Bush Bean
Macroptilium lathyroides
While very dominant, does not appear to cause significant tree mortality
Paspalum notatum
Appears helpful with initial weed control.
Cynodon dactylon
Appears helpful with initial weed control.
Showy Rattlebox
Crotalaria spectabilis
Does not appear to harm young trees.

Additional Native Flora Identified by UF Botantists

Common Name:
Scientific Name
Purple Passion Flower
Passiflora incarnata L.
Turkey Tangle Fogfruit
Phyla nodiflora L
Stiff Marsh Bedstraw
Galium tincorium L
Common Yellow Woodsorrel
Oxalis corniculata L.
Yellow bristlegrass
Setaria parviflora
Manyflower marshpennywort
Hydrocotyle umbellata L
American burnweed
Erechtites hieracilfolia L
Laurel/Diamond oak
Quercus laurifloia Michx.
Rubus argutus or trivialis.
Live Oak
Quercus virginiana Mill.

Additional Species:   The Florida Institute of Phosphate Research (FIPR) has also identified the following plants in tree understory: Foxgrape, Figfruit, Smartweed, Pokeweed, Ragweed, Dog Fennel.

Natives Re-introduction Project: Advisors (Cargill, Florida Department of Environmental Protections, and the Natives Nursery) have provided the following list of native plants and grasses that will comprise our "test plots" on and between tree beds:

  • Lizard's tail, Saururus cernuus
  • Pennywort, Hydrocotyle sp.
  • Muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris
  • Wiregrass, Aristida berhychiana
  • Chapman's Goldenrod
  • Beakrush, Rhynchospora sp.
  • Cord grass, Spartina sp.
  • Panicum anceps
  • Panicum longifolium
  • Eastern gamagrass Tripsacum dactyloides
  • Maidencane Panicum haemotomen
  • Short-topped goldenrod Euthamia minor
  • Aster elliotii
  • Goldenrod Solidago fistulosa
  • Winged Shumac Rhus copallina
  • Blackberry Rubus arbutifolia
  • Andropogon spp.
  • Wildlife Returning to Site: Prior to the development of our environmentally damaged phosphate mining site (when it was totally dominated by ~6 feet of cogongrass), birds were rarely seen. Perhaps one of the most gratifying accomplishments is seeing how significant levels of bird populations are returning to site.

    While we are very much in a learning phase of fully understanding the "whys" of increased wildlife populations-- certain aspects are clear. For example, with tree canopies shading the forest floor, cogongrass is being effectively controlled. This is allowing native Florida plants such as creeping dayflower (a favorite bard source, especially to Ground Doves) to return to the site. We also are observing tremendous numbers of tree frogs in eucalyptus stands.


  • Osprey -- Spring, Summer, Fall Resident.
  • Red Tail Hawk - [pictures]
  • Red Shouldered Hawk
  • Common Ground Dove
  • Redwing Blackbird
  • Turkey and Black Vultures
  • Northern Mockingbird -- only along perimeter of farm.
  • Sandpiper -- Winter Resident.
  • Ibis
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Baltimore Oriole -- Winter Resident.
  • Egret
  • Northern Cardinal -- increasing populations.
  • Yellow-Throated and Palm Warbler -- Winter Resident.
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • American Robin -- Winter Resident.
  • Common Grackle
  • Wood Stork -- found in wet areas.
  • Carolina Wren
  • Swallow-tail Kite -- Beautiful!, 1st siting on Farm May 2003.
  • Butterflys:

  • Monarch or Viceroy -- (We are not sure)
  • Zebra Longwing -- State Butterfly of Florida
  • Snakes:

  • Black Racer -- most common snake on farm.
  • Red Rat/Corn Snake -- Very docile and pretty snake.
  • King Snake
  • Indigo Snake -- Wow, around 7 to 8' in length!
  • Cottonmouth -- Common and very agressive snake.
  • Rattlesnake -- Not common, but are on tree farm.

    Large Critters:

  • Bobcats
  • Wild Hogs
  • Alligators
  • Florida Panther -- One siting in February, early morning.