I took a stroll this afternoon along the path we are making to our nearest neighbors' house not quite a quarter mile away. The path goes from the back of our property and heads north along the edge of (and sometimes into) the marsh that borders Black Creek. There is still much evidence of Hurricane Iris (2001) in the twisted and downed trees. Not many trees are very tall. The largest trees were decapitated by Iris. It is sad to see the magnificence of these large trees reduced. But what was bad for the trees has provided an opportunity for other plants. The more open canopy and abundant amounts of dead wood are good conditions for many epiphytes including orchids and at least 1 fern species. The photo below is of an orchid called Catasetum integerrimum. Its roots grow up; the thought is that they catch detritus for nutrients. It is a common orchid whose flowers are fertilized by bees. I haven't seen any blossoms yet, but will keep an eye out for them.
|See the roots growing up? And the big seed pod in the foreground is at least 6 inches long.
I think showed photos already of a huge fern that is over 7 feet tall. The fern below is a little smaller, only 4 or so feet tall.
|The spore-bearing sori are on either side of the mid-rib of the leaflets. This will help me key it out when I get my books down here.
Another fern I saw is an epiphytic fern, that, like the orchids, is taking advantage of the downed wood.
|Older specimens had spore-bearing fronds with sori arranged in pairs of dots, one on each side of the mid-rib.