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Title: Everglades Wildguide - Handbook 143
Author: George, Jean Craighead
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                              Handbook 143

                          Everglades Wildguide

                        by Jean Craighead George
                     Illustrations by Betty Fraser

        The Natural History of Everglades National Park, Florida

                        Division of Publications
                         National Park Service

                    U.S. Department of the Interior
                         Washington, D.C. 1988

                           _About This Book_

Here is the story of the plants and animals of the Everglades, this
country’s subtropical kingdom. Plants and animals found nowhere else in
the 50 states are found here in abundance, though in an increasingly
perilous state. In this handbook, first published in 1972, author and
researcher Jean Craighead George brings to the telling of this story
long years of study and understanding. Checklists and glossaries at the
back buttress her account of the natural history of this national park.

National Park Handbooks, compact introductions to the great natural and
historic places administered by the National Park Service, are published
to support the National Park Service’s management programs at the parks
and to promote understanding and enjoyment of the parks. Each is
intended to be informative reading and a useful guide before, during,
and after a park visit. More than 100 titles are in print. This is
Handbook 143. You may purchase the handbooks through the mail by writing
to Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402.

  _Library of Congress card number: 73-600077_
  ISBN 0-912627-29-8

★GPO: 1987—181-917/60504

  Preface                                                             vii
  America’s Subtropical Wonderland                                      1
      Pine Rockland                                                     7
      Tree-Island Glades                                               12
      Mangrove Swamp                                                   16
      Florida Bay and the Coastal Prairie                              21
      Big Cypress Swamp                                                26
  Plant-and-Animal Communities                                         29
      Tropical Hardwood Hammock                                        30
      Cypress Head                                                     35
      Bayhead                                                          38
      Willow Head                                                      40
      Web of Life in the Marsh                                         42
      Alligator Hole in the Glades                                     45
  Discovering Everglades Plants and Animals                            49
      Air Plants                                                       52
      Mammals                                                          59
      Birds                                                            64
      Reptiles and Amphibians                                          70
      Fishes                                                           72
      Animals without Backbones                                        75
  Indians of the Everglades                                            77
  Appendix                                                             80
      Glossary                                                         81
      For Reading and Reference                                        84
      Rare and Endangered Animals                                      86
      Checklist of Mammals                                             87
      Checklist of Birds                                               88
      Checklist of Reptiles and Amphibians                             96
      Checklist of Trees                                               98

                [Illustration: EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK]

    [Illustration: Alligator nest]


The shimmering waters of the everglades creep silently down the tip of
Florida under warm subtropical skies. In a vast, shallow sheet this lazy
river idles through tall grasses and shadowy forests, easing over
alligator holes and under bird rookeries, finally mingling with the
salty waters of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico in the mangrove
swamps. From source to sea, all across the shallow breadth of this
watery landscape, life abounds.

Everglades National Park is to most Americans an Eden where birds,
mammals, reptiles, and orchids find sanctuary. Sunshine sparkles on
sloughs teeming with fish, and on marshes where wildflowers bloom the
year around; it shines on tree islands where birds roost and deer bed
down. In this semitropical garden of plant-and-animal communities, every
breeze-touched glade, every cluster of trees is a separate world in
which are tucked yet smaller worlds of such complexity that even
ecologists have not learned all their intricate relationships.

This book has been written to help you see how the many pieces of this
ecological puzzle fit together to form a complex, ever-changing, closely
woven web of plants, animals, rock, soil, sun, water, and air.


Everglades may not be our largest national park (that honor belongs to
Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska), but it is certainly the wettest. During
and after the rainy season, when not only the mangrove swamp but also
the sawgrass prairie is under water, most of the park abounds in fish
and other water life, and even the white-tailed deer leads a
semi-aquatic existence.

Despite the fact that it is low, flat, and largely under water,
Everglades is a park of many environments: shallow, key-dotted Florida
Bay; the coastal prairie; the vast mangrove forest and its mysterious
waterways; cypress swamps; the true everglades—an extensive freshwater
marsh dotted with tree islands and occasional ponds; and the driest
zone, the pine-and-hammock rockland.

The watery expanse we call “everglades,” from which the park gets its
name, lies only partly within the park boundaries. Originally this river
flowed, unobstructed though very slowly, southward from Lake Okeechobee
more than 100 miles to Florida Bay. It is hardly recognizable as a
river, for it is 50 miles wide and averages only about 6 inches deep,
and it creeps rather than flows. Its source, the area around Lake
Okeechobee, is only about 15 feet above sea level, and the riverbed
slopes southward only 2 or 3 inches to the mile.

As you can see by the maps on pages 2 and 3, the works of man have
greatly altered the drainage patterns and the natural values of south
Florida, and you can imagine how this has affected the supply of
water—the park’s lifeblood.

The park’s array of plants and animals is a blend of tropical species,
most of which made their way across the water from the Caribbean
islands, and species from the Temperate Zone, which embraces all of
Florida. All of these inhabitants exist here through adaptation to the
region’s peculiar cycles of flood, drought, and fire and by virtue of
subtle variations in temperature, altitude, and soil.




The horizontal distance represented on this diagram, from the Pineland
to Florida Bay, is 15 miles. With a greatly exaggerated vertical scale,
the difference between the greatest elevation of the pine ridge and the
bottom of the Florida Bay marl bed is only 14 feet.]


Underlying the entire park is porous limestone (_see_ glossary), which
was deposited ages ago in warm seas that covered the southern part of
today’s Florida peninsula. Over this limestone only a thin mantle of
marl and peat provides soil for rooting plants.

Some of the park’s ecosystems (_see_ glossary) are extremely complex.
For example, a single jungle hammock of a dozen acres may contain, along
with giant live oaks and other plants from the Temperate Zone, many
kinds of tropical hardwood trees; a profusion of vines, mosses, ferns,
orchids, and air plants; and a great variety of vertebrate and
invertebrate animals, from tree snails to the white-tailed deer.

                             Pine Rockland

Entering the park from the northeast, you are on a road traversing the
pineland-and-hammock “ridge.” This elevated part of the South Florida
limestone bedrock, which at the park entrance is about 6 feet above sea
level, is the driest zone in the park. Pine trees, which will grow only
on ground that remains above water most of the year, thrive on this

There is another condition essential to the survival of the pine forest
in this region—fire. We usually think of fire as the enemy of forest
vegetation; but that is not true here. The pines that grow in this part
of Florida have a natural resistance to fire. Their thick, corky bark
insulates their trunks from the flames. And strangely enough the fire
actually seems to help with pine reproduction; it destroys competing
vegetation and exposes the mineral soil seedlings need. If there has
been a good cone crop, you will find an abundant growth of pine
seedlings after a fire in the pinelands.

What would happen if the pinelands were protected from fire? Examine a
pine forest where there have been no recent fires. You will note that
there are many small hardwood (broadleaved) trees growing in the shade
of the pines. These hardwoods would eventually shade out the
light-demanding pine seedlings, and take over as the old pines died off.
But under normal conditions, lightning-caused fires sweep at fairly
frequent intervals through the pineland. Since the hardwoods have little
resistance to fire, they are pruned back.

Before this century, fires burned vast areas. The only barriers were
natural waterways—sloughs, lakes and ponds, and estuaries—which retained
some water during the rainless season when the rest of the glades and
pinelands dried up. Old-timers say that sometimes a fire would travel
all the way from Lake Okeechobee to the coastal prairie of Cape Sable
(_see_ page 2). In the pine forest, any area bypassed by these fires for
a lengthy period developed into a junglelike island of hardwoods. We
call such stands “hammocks,” whether they develop in the pine forest or
in the open glades. On the limestone ridge, the hammocks support a
community of plants and animals strikingly different from the
surrounding pine forests.

    [Illustration: PINE AND HAMMOCK RIDGE
    (_elevation: 3 to 7 feet above sea level_)]


With the opening up of south Florida for farming and industry, man’s
works—particularly roads and canals—soon crisscrossed the region,
forming barriers to the spread of the fires. Suppression of fire by
farmers, lumbermen, and park managers also lessened their effect. Thus
the hardwoods, which previously had been held back by fire, tended to
replace the pines. And although the park was established to preserve a
patch of primitive subtropical America as it was in earlier centuries,
the landscape began to change.

Continued protection of the park from fire would in time eliminate the
pineland—a plant community that has little chance to survive elsewhere.
So, in Everglades National Park, Smokey Bear must take a back seat: park
rangers deliberately set fires to help nature maintain the natural
scene. Thus, as you drive down the road to Flamingo, do not be shocked
to discover park rangers burning the vegetation. The fires are
controlled, of course, and the existing hammocks are not destroyed.

When you visit the park take a close look at the pinelands community.
Notice, as you walk on the manmade trail through the pine forest, that
the ground on either side of you is extremely rough. The limestone
bedrock is visible everywhere; what soil there is has accumulated in the
pits and potholes that riddle the bedrock. The trees, shrubs, grasses,
and other plants are rooted in these pockets of soil.

The limestone looks rather hazardous to walk on—and it is. You must be
careful not to break through a thin shell of rock covering a cavity.
This pitted, honeycombed condition is due to the fact that the limestone
is easily dissolved by acids. Decaying pine needles, palmetto leaves,
and other dead plant materials produce weak acids that continually eat
away at the rock.

If a fire has passed through the pineland recently, you may notice that
while most of the low-growing plants have been killed, some, such as the
saw-palmetto, are sending up new green shoots. The thick, stubby stem of
the palmetto lies in a pothole, with its roots in the soil that has
accumulated there; even in the dry season the pocket in the limestone
remains damp, for water is never very far below the surface in this
region. When fire kills the top of the plant, the stem and roots
survive, and the palmetto, like the pine, remains a part of the plant

A number of other plants of the south Florida pinelands have adapted to
the conditions of periodic burning. Coontie (a cycad, from the
underground stems of which the Indians made flour) and moon vine (a
morningglory) are among many you will see surviving pineland fires
severe enough to result in the death or stunting of the hardwood
seedlings and saplings.

Sometimes we forget that fire—like water, wind, and sunlight—is a
natural force that operates with the others to influence the evolution
of plants as well as to shape the landscape.

The pineland, like other plant communities, has its own community of
animals. Some of its residents, such as the cotton mouse, opossum, and
raccoon, are found in other communities of the park, too.

Some of the pineland animals, however—pine warbler, reef gecko, and
five-lined skink, for example—are particularly adapted to this
environment. These lovers of sunlight are dependent, like the pine
forest, on the occasional natural or manmade fires that hold back the
hardwood trees.

The pine rockland is quite different from the other plant-and-animal
communities you will see as you drive through the park: it is the only
ecosystem you can explore on foot in any season. Other parts of the park
are largely flooded during the wet season. Elevated boardwalks have been
provided in some of these areas to enable you to penetrate them a short
distance from the road.

As you will see, fire plays an important role in some of the other
Everglades communities, too.

                           Tree-island Glades
               (_elevation: 1 to 3 feet above sea level_)

    [Illustration: Tree-island Glade]


    [Illustration: PIG FROG
    one-third life size]

    [Illustration: GREEN TREEFROG
    one-third life size]

    [Illustration: SQUIRREL TREEFROG
    color variation]

Beyond the pinelands the road, having descended some 2 feet from the
park entrance, brings you into the true everglades—the river of grass,
or, as the Seminoles call it, Pa-Hay-Okee (grassy waters). To the eye,
the glades look like a very flat, grassy prairie broken by scattered
clumps of trees. During the dry season (winter) it is in fact a
prairie—and sometimes burns fiercely. The dominant everglades plant is
sawgrass (actually not a grass but a sedge). The tree islands develop in
both high and low spots of the glades terrain. In this unbelievably flat
country, small differences in elevation—measured in inches rather than
feet—cause major differences in the plantlife: tropical hardwoods on the
“mesas,” and swamp trees in the potholes.

A spot in the glades where the limestone base is elevated just 2 feet
will be occupied by a small forest of tropical hardwoods and palms—a
“hammock” much like those of the pinelands. A low spot—just a few inches
below the general level of the limestone base—will remain wet even in
the relatively rainless winter when the sawgrass becomes tinder dry.
This sloughlike depression will support a stand of baldcypress, called a
“cypress head.” Other tree islands, called bayheads and willow heads,
develop in many places where soil and peat accumulate.

Step from the sawgrass glades into one of these hammocks or heads; you
will find yourself in another world. You cannot know the park until you
have investigated these plant-and-animal communities so distinct from
the surrounding marsh yet so much a part of it. As you drive through the
park, look for the trails provided to give you easy access into the
interior of the tree islands.

Also characteristic of the glades are the sloughs—channels where the
glades water, generally a thin, seemingly motionless sheet, is deeper
and has a noticeable current. The sloughs support a rich plantlife and
attract a variety of animals, particularly during the dry season when
the water level drops below the shallow glades bottom. Animals that live
in the glades when they are under water must migrate or estivate (_see_
glossary) if they are to survive the rainless months. Many migrate to
the sloughs, the best known of which is Taylor Slough, where the
elevated Anhinga Trail enables you to walk over the water and observe
the wildlife.

Fire is an important factor in the ecology of the tree-island glades,
just as it is in the pineland. Here, too, artificial barriers such as
canals and roads have hindered the spread of natural fires. There is
some evidence that tree islands were scattered more thinly over the
sawgrass prairie a half-century ago, when a single fire might wipe out
scores of them and destroy much of the bed of peat that provided a
foothold for them. A bird’s-eye view of the glades region today shows
many tree islands that have been established in recent decades. But park
rangers are now utilizing controlled fires in the glades as well as in
the pineland. This tends to prevent new tree islands from taking hold,
and thus helps maintain the natural everglades landscape.

Driving over the glades toward Florida Bay, you come to a sign reading
“Rock Reef Pass—Elevation 3 Feet.” The road then traverses the so-called
dwarf cypress forest. The forest is an open area of scattered, stunted
baldcypress growing where marl (which, unlike peat, does not burn) has
accumulated in small potholes dissolved in the limestone. These marl
potholes provide a foothold for the dwarf cypresses in an area that is
spotted with cypress heads containing much larger trees. Many of the
dwarf cypresses are more than 100 years old, while tall cypresses in the
heads may be less than 50 years old. These anomalies can be attributed
to varying soil depths and water levels and to the effects of fire.

Before you reach the limit of the fresh-water marsh you will come to a
side road leading to Mahogany Hammock. (A good foot trail makes it easy
to explore this hardwood jungle island.) Just beyond, you will notice
the first red mangroves. Small and scattered in this zone, they are a
signal that you are approaching a strikingly different plant-and-animal
community, the mangrove swamp.

                                Mangrove Swamp
           (_elevation: sea level to 1 foot above sea level_)

    [Illustration: PRAIRIE SEDGES]

  RED-MANGROVE (very dense growth)

    [Illustration: BONEFISH Comes in with the tide to feed on crabs and
    mollusks in shallow water]

    [Illustration: FLORIDA HORN SHELL Lives in shallow water and feeds
    upon algae and other aquatic plants]

    [Illustration: ’COON OYSTER A small (1½″) oyster that lives attached
    to the roots of mangroves]

The southward-creeping waters of the glades eventually meet and mingle
with the salty waters of the tidal estuaries. In this transition zone
and along the gulf and Florida Bay coasts a group of trees that are
tolerant of salty conditions, called “mangroves,” form a vast, watery
wilderness. Impenetrable except by boat, it occupies hundreds of square
miles, embracing both the shifting zone of brackish water and the
saltier coastal waters.

Several kinds of trees are loosely called “mangroves.” The
water-tolerant red mangrove grows well out into the mudflats and is
easily recognized by its arching stiltlike roots. Black-mangrove
typically grows at levels covered by high tide but exposed at low tide,
and it is characterized by the root projections called pneumatophores
that stick up out of the mud like so many stalks of asparagus growing in
the shade of the tree. White-mangrove has no peculiar root structure and
grows, generally, farther from the water, behind the other trees.
Sometimes all three are found in mixed stands.

This mangrove wilderness, laced by thousands of miles of estuarine
channels (called “rivers” and “creeks”) and broken by numerous bays and
sounds, is extremely productive biologically. The brackish zone is
particularly valuable as a nursery ground for shrimp. The larvae and
young of these marine crustaceans and of other marine animals remain in
this relatively protected environment until they are large enough to
venture into the open waters beyond the mangroves.


The shrimp represent a multi-million-dollar industry, and the
sports-fishing business of the area is said to exceed that by far. Both
would suffer if any damage occurred to this ecosystem. The greatest
danger is the alteration in the flow of fresh waters from the glades and
cypress swamps that occurs when new canals are built and land is drained
for cultivation or development. The flow carries with it into the
estuaries organic materials from the rich glades ecosystem; these
supplement the vast quantities of organic matter derived from the decay
of red mangrove leaves. Thus, a reduction in the amount of
nutrient-laden fresh water flowing into the mangrove region will affect
the welfare of the ecosystem, and indirectly the livelihood or
recreation of many persons.

The productive zone of brackish water varies in breadth according to the
flow of fresh water. In the wet summer it moves seaward as the flow of
fresh water from the glades pushes the tides back. In the drier winter
the bay and gulf waters move inland and the brackish zone is quite
narrow. The drainage and canal-building operations in south Florida can
be extremely disruptive here, since too little, or too much, fresh water
flowing into the estuaries can interfere with their productivity.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes can also bring about great changes
in the mangrove ecosystem. Yet biologists do not necessarily view the
destruction of mangroves by hurricanes as catastrophic. The hurricanes
have been occurring as long as the mangroves have grown here and are
part of the complex of natural forces making the region what it is.

Fire does not seem to be a problem in the mangrove wilderness. The trees
themselves are not especially fire-resistant, but it is not uncommon to
see a glades fire burn to the edge of the mangroves and stop when it
runs out of fine fuel.

The mangrove wilderness is a mecca for many park visitors. Sportsmen
take their motorboats into the bays and rivers to challenge the fighting
tarpon. Bird lovers seek the roosts and rookeries of herons and wood
storks. Canoeists, the only ones able to explore the secret depths, are
drawn by the spell of labyrinthine channels under arching mangrove
branches. Here, in a wilderness still thwarting man’s efforts at
destruction, one experiences a feeling of utter isolation from the
machine world.

But the relentlessly rising sea of the past 10,000 years has belittled
drought, fire, hurricane, and frost as it slowly inundated this land 3
inches each hundred years. In compensation, the mangrove forest adds
peat and rises with the sea. The sawgrass marshes retreat, and the
mangrove ecosystem prevails essentially unchanged.

    [Illustration: APPLE MUREX
    A carnivorous mollusk that feeds on oysters.]

                  Florida Bay and the Coastal Prairie

When you reach Flamingo, a former fishing village and now a center for
visitor services and accommodations, you will be on the shore of Florida
Bay. Here is an environment rich in variety of animal life, where
porpoises play, the American crocodile makes its last stand, and the
great white heron, once feared doomed to extinction, holds its own. The
abundance of game fish in the bay has given it a reputation as one of
the best sport-fishing grounds on the east coast.

The bay’s approximately 100 keys (low-lying islets) were built up by
mangroves and provide foothold for other plants hardy enough to
withstand the salty environment and the sometimes violent winds. The
keys are also a breeding ground for water birds, ospreys, and bald

Florida Bay, larger than some of our States, is so shallow that at low
tide some of it is out of water; its greatest depth is about 9 feet. The
shallows and mudflats attract great numbers of wading birds, which feed
upon the abundant life sheltered in the seaweeds—a plant-and-animal
community nourished by nutrients carried in the waters flowing from the
glades and mangroves.

To the west beyond Flamingo is Cape Sable. This near-island includes the
finest of the park’s beaches and much of the coastal prairie ecosystem.
A fringe of coconut palms along the beach could be the remnants of early
attempts at a plantation on the cape that did not survive the
hurricanes; or it could be the result of the sprouting of coconuts
carried by currents from Caribbean plantations and washed up on the
cape. For a time, casuarina trees (called “Australian pines”), which
became established on Cape Sable after Hurricane Donna, seemed to
threaten the ecology of the beach. But these invaders were mostly
removed in 1971, and now appear to be under control.

Examine the “sand” of this beach. You will discover that it is not
quartz grains—but mostly minute shell fragments. Entire shells of the
warm-water molluscs that live offshore also wash up on the beach. There
are also artifacts that speak of Indian activity in this area in past
centuries, curled centers of conch shells from which the pre-Columbian
Indians fashioned tools, and numerous pieces of pottery (potsherds).
Both shells and potsherds tempt the collector. Shelling—that is, the
collecting of _dead_ shells, for noncommercial purposes—is permitted.
But Federal law prohibits the removal of even a fragment of pottery—for
these are invaluable Indian relics, essential to continuing scientific
investigation of the human history of the region.

    (_elevation: sea level to 2 feet above sea level_)]

    7 FIG

Back from the narrow beach is a drier zone of grasses and other
low-growing vegetation. Some of the plants of this zone, such as the
railroad vine, are so salt-tolerant that in places they grow almost to
the water’s edge. (No plant that is extremely sensitive to salty soil
could survive on Cape Sable.) Beyond the grassy zone is a zone of
hardwoods (buttonwood, gumbo-limbo, Jamaica dogwood), cactuses, yucca,
and other plants forming a transition from beach to coastal prairie.

Birds provide much of the visual excitement of the beach community, just
as they do in other parts of the park. Sandpipers, pelicans, gulls,
egrets, ospreys, and bald eagles use it and the bordering waters for
feeding, nesting, and resting. Mammals, notably raccoons, stalk the
beach in search of food. And the big loggerhead turtle depends on it for
nesting. In late spring and early summer the female loggerhead hauls
herself up on the beach and digs a hole above hightide mark. There she
deposits about 100 ping-pong balls—which should hatch out into baby
loggerheads. Unfortunately for this marine reptile, however, most of
them meet another fate. Hardly has the female turtle covered the eggs
with sand and started back toward the water, than they are dug up and
devoured by raccoons and other predators. These conditions created such
high mortality of the turtles that the National Park Service has adopted
special protective measures—removing some of the raccoons and erecting
wire barriers around turtle nests. These measures have been effective,
but continued surveillance is required if the loggerhead is not to
disappear from Florida.

    [Illustration: THE FLAMINGO AREA]

An abundance of raccoons and other predators is not the only threat to
survival of the loggerhead turtle. A major factor in its decline is the
serious depletion of its nesting habitat. Park visitors are prohibited
from interfering with these reptiles. Cape Sable beach is today
virtually the only wild beach in South Florida, thanks to its inclusion
in Everglades National Park. At present, visitors can reach it only by
boat. But it would be foolhardy to take it for granted that the beach
will remain unspoiled. Its potential as an attraction is such that
someone not ecologically aware might believe that access for motorists
would be an improvement. Roads, however, would bring increased pressure
on the ecosystem by large numbers of visitors, and demands for further
development, for lodging, meals, and other services seem always to go
with automobiles. With continued protection from such encroachments,
Cape Sable Beach will remain a unique wilderness resource and will not
become just another recreational facility.

Merging with the beach is the coastal prairie, an ecosystem supporting
red and black mangroves, grasses, and other plants tolerant of the very
salty environment. Hardwood hammocks have developed here on Indian shell
mounds, but the trees are stunted by the saline soils. Though there is
no lack of water on the cape, much of the region appears arid because
hurricane-lashed tides have deposited soils of marl and debris so
salt-laden that only sparse vegetation develops.

                           Big Cypress Swamp

To the west of the great fresh-water marsh called the everglades, lying
almost entirely outside the park, is an ecosystem vitally linked to the
park. Big Cypress Swamp is a vast, shallow basin that includes
practically all of Collier County. It is commonly called “The Big
Cypress”—not because of the size of its trees, but because of its
extent. Most of the baldcypresses (which are not true cypresses) are
small trees, growing in open to dense stands throughout the area. The
swamp is watered by about 50 inches of annual rainfall, the runoff from
which flows as a sheet and in sloughs south and west to meet the coastal
strip of mangroves and low sand dunes.

Big Cypress is speckled with low limestone outcrops, cut with shallow
sloughs 1 to 2 feet deep, and dotted with ponds and wet prairies. As in
the everglades, fire and water maintain the character of the plantlife
in this swampy realm of sunlight and shadow. Also as in the everglades,
a difference of a few inches in elevation creates different communities.
Tropical hardwood hammocks grow on rocky outcrops. In the depressions
arise bayheads and clumps of pond apple, pop ash, and willow. The larger
baldcypress trees grow in shallow sloughs, which are usually surrounded
by prairies of sawgrass and maiden cane growing on slightly higher land.
Although the several different plant communities resemble those in the
glades, they support slightly different plants, because of the sandy
soil (there being more quartz in the limestone under Big Cypress than in
the park).

These baldcypresses, many measuring 3 to 6 feet in diameter, were
heavily lumbered from 1930 to 1950. Today, few giant trees survive, but
a sizable stand exists on the Norris Tract—so named for its
conservation-minded donor—which forms the nucleus of Corkscrew Swamp
Sanctuary. Here, protected by the National Audubon Society, are
baldcypresses 130 feet tall; some have a girth of 25 feet! A boardwalk
more than one-half mile long enables you to enjoy the beauty of this
wild preserve without getting your feet wet.

    [Illustration: CYPRESS STRAND]

    3 POP ASH

Large stands of baldcypress, called “strands,” support small communities
such as ponds, prairies, and tropical hammocks. One such hammock is
famous for the finest stand of royal palms remaining in south Florida.
The largest cypress strand—the Fakahatchee—extends some 23 miles north
and south a few miles east of Naples.

Big Cypress Swamp is the home of wild turkey, bobcat, deer, and an
occasional Florida panther. The fish-eating otter plays in its
waterways. Most of the birds found in the everglades also are found in
the trees and waterways of Big Cypress, because the swamp has an
abundance of food. The area is so rich in wildlife and edible plants
that the Seminole Indians formerly lived entirely off its products.

    [Illustration: BOBCAT    WHITE-TAILED DEER    OTTER]

The eastern edge of the big swamp and its importance to Everglades
National Park came to worldwide attention in 1969 when it was selected
as the site for the proposed Miami International Jetport. According to
plans, this was to be the biggest airport in the world, covering 39
square miles and handling 65 million passengers a year. Millions of
persons were expected to make their home in and around the jetport. Such
a threat to the national park, into which the waters of Big Cypress
partly drain, provoked protest letters from all over the world. Most
writers objected on the grounds that Everglades belongs to all and that
a jetport here would seal the doom of the park. Congress acted in 1974
by establishing Big Cypress National Preserve to help protect the water
supply to Everglades National Park.

                      PLANT-AND-ANIMAL COMMUNITIES

To know Everglades, you must become acquainted with some of its diverse
communities. The physical conditions determining the existence of a
particular community may seem subtle—just a few inches difference in
elevation, or an accumulation of peat in a depression in the limestone
bedrock, for example. But often, the change in your surroundings as you
step from one community to another is startling—for it is abrupt and
complete. In Everglades, the dividing line between two habitats may
separate an almost entirely different association of plants and animals.

Use the trails that have been laid out to help you see the communities.
They make access easy for you; the rest is up to you. Be observant:
notice the stemlike root of a saw-palmetto in a damp pothole of the
pineland; look closely at the periphyton that plays such an important
role in the glades food chain. Note the difference in feeding methods of
wading birds; each species has its own niche in the habitat. Most of
all, get into the habit of thinking of each animal, each plant, as a
member of the closely woven web of life that makes up an integrated

                       Tropical Hardwood Hammock

Generally, in south Florida, hardwood hammocks develop only in areas
protected from fire, flood, and saline waters. The land must be high
enough (1 to 3 feet above surrounding levels) to stand above the water
that covers the glades much of the year. The roots of the trees must be
out of the water and must have adequate aeration. In the park, these
conditions prevail on the limestone “ridge” (elevation of which ranges
from 3 to 7 feet above sea level) and some spots in the glades region.
On the limestone ridge, in areas bypassed by fires for a long period,
hammocks have developed. Pines grow in the surrounding areas, where
repeated fires have held back the hardwoods.

The moats that tend to form around glades hammocks, as acids from
decaying plant materials dissolve the limestone, hold water even during
the dry season; the moats thus act as barriers protecting the hammock
vegetation from glades fires.

When the white man took over southern Florida, these hammocks were
luxuriant jungle islands dominated by towering tropical hardwoods and
palms. Stumps and logs on the floors of some of the remaining hammocks,
attesting to the enormous size of some of the earlier trees, are sad
reminders of the former grandeur of the hammocks. While most of south
Florida’s hammocks have been destroyed, you can still see some fine ones
protected in the park. At Royal Palm Hammock, near park headquarters,
Gumbo Limbo Trail winds through a dim, dense forest with welcome
coolness on a hot day.

Stepping into a jungle hammock from either the sunbathed glades or the
open pine forest is a sudden, dramatic change. The contrast when you
enter Gumbo Limbo Trail immediately after walking the Anhinga Trail is
striking. While the watery world of Anhinga is dominated by a noisy
profusion of wildlife, the environment of Gumbo Limbo will seem to be a
mere tangle of vegetation. But the jungle hammock, too, has its
community of animals—even though you may notice none but mosquitoes.
Many of its denizens are nocturnal in their habits, but if you remain
alert you will observe birds, invertebrates, and perhaps a lizard.

    [Illustration: TREE SNAILS
    There are 52 color forms of _Liguus fasciatus_ found in south

    [Illustration: _Liguus fasciatus pseudopictus_]

    [Illustration: _Liguus fasciatus pictus_]

    [Illustration: _Liguus fasciatus ornatus_]

The trees that envelop you as you walk on Gumbo Limbo Trail are mostly
tropical species; of the dominant trees, only the live oak (which grows
as far north as Virginia) can be considered non-tropical. Under oaks and
tropical bustics, poisonwood, mastics, and gumbo-limbos grow small trees
such as tetrazygia, rough-leaf velvetseed, and wild coffee, a multitude
of mosses and ferns, and only a few species of shade-tolerant flowering
plants. Orchids and air plants burst like sun stars from limbs, trunks,
and fallen logs. Twining among them all, the woody vines called lianas
enhance the jungle atmosphere. Adding a final touch are the royal palms
that here and there tower over the hardwood canopy—occasionally reaching
125 feet.



The limestone rock that underlies the entire park is porous and soluble;
consequently the floor of the hammock is pitted with solution holes
dissolved by the acid from decaying vegetation. Soil and peat
accumulating in the water-filled bottom of one of these holes supports a
plant community of its own: perhaps a pond apple, surrounded by ferns
and mosses (including some varieties that seem to be limited to this
pothole environment).

A dead, decaying log on the ground may support another miniature plant
community—a carpet of mosses, ferns, and other small plants that thrive
in such moist situations.

Strangest of the hammock plants is the strangler fig, which first gets a
foothold in the rough bark of a live oak, cabbage palm, or other tree.
It then sends roots down to the ground, entwining about the host tree as
it grows, and eventually killing it. On the Gumbo Limbo Trail you will
see a strangler fig that grew in this manner and was enmeshed by another
strangler fig—which now is threatened by a third fig that already has
gained a foothold in its branches.

Best known of the glades hammocks is Mahogany Hammock. A boardwalk trail
in this lush, junglelike tree island leads past the giant mahogany tree
for which the hammock was named—now, because of Hurricane Donna, a
dismembered giant. This fine tree island was explored only after the
park was established.

An array of large and small vertebrate animals, mostly representative of
the Temperate Zone, populates these tropical hardwood jungles: raccoons
and opossums, many varieties of birds, snakes and lizards, tree frogs,
even bobcats and the rare Florida panther, or cougar. Not surprisingly,
invertebrates—including insects and snails—abound in this luxuriant
plant community. The tropical influence is evident in the presence of
invertebrates such as tree snails of the genus _Liguus_, known outside
of Florida only in Hispaniola and Cuba.

                              Cypress Head

Standing out conspicuously on the glades landscape are tall, domelike
tree islands of baldcypress. Unlike hammocks, which occupy elevations,
cypress heads, or domes, occupy depressions in the limestone
bedrock—areas that remain as ponds or wet places during seasons when the
glades dry up. Water-loving cypresses need only a thin accumulation of
peat and soil to begin their growth in these depressions or in smaller
solution holes in the limestone.

    [Illustration: Cypress head]

  ALLIGATOR HOLE (often in middle of cypress head)

    [Illustration: TURKEY VULTURE]

Though most conifers retain their needles all year, baldcypresses shed
their foliage in winter. The fallen needles decay, forming acids that
dissolve the limestone further; thus these trees tend to enlarge their
own ponds. Since the pond is deeper in the middle, and the accumulation
of peat is greater there, the taller trees grow in the center of the
head, with the smaller ones toward the edge. Hence the characteristic
dome-shaped profile.

Usually when fire sweeps the glades, the baldcypresses, occupying low,
wet spots, are not injured. But with extended drought, the water
disappears and the peat may burn for months, killing all the

The cypress heads sometimes serve as alligator holes, where the big
reptiles and other aquatic animals are able to survive dry periods. As
you drive along the park road, stop and examine these tree islands
through your binoculars; they are favored haunts of many of the park’s
larger wading birds. Look for herons, egrets, wood storks, and white
ibis, which visit these swampy habitats to feed on the abundant aquatic

Bald eagles find the tops of the tallest cypresses advantageous perches
from which to scan the marsh. And at night certain of the cypress heads
are “buzzard roosts”—resting areas for gatherings of hundreds of turkey


    [Illustration: Bayhead]


Many of the tree islands in the fresh-water glades are of the type
called bayhead. Growing in depressions in the limestone or from beds of
peat built up on the bedrock, these plant communities contain a variety
of trees, including swamp holly, redbay, sweetbay, wax myrtle, and
cocoplum. Some of them, on the fringes of the brackish zone, are marked
by clumps of graceful paurotis palms growing at their edges.

Like the hardwood hammocks in the pinelands, bayheads are prevented from
taking over the entire glades ecosystem by the dry-season fires that
sweep the region at irregular intervals. The fires do not always affect
the bayheads. A moat, formed by the dissolving action of acids from
decaying plant materials on the limestone, may surround the tree island,
providing some protection from fire. Wildlife concentrates in these
moats during the dry season. Birds congregate here to harvest the fish,
snails, and other aquatic life—and occasionally themselves fall prey to
lurking alligators.

                              Willow Head

Willows pioneer new territories and create an environment that enables
other plants to gain a foothold. Their windblown seeds usually root in
sunny land opened by fire and agriculture. Since these trees require a
great quantity of water, the solution holes in the glades are favorable
sites. Seedlings grow, leaves fall, and stems and twigs die and
drop—contributing to the formation of peat. When this builds up close to
or above the surface of the water, it provides a habitat for other trees
such as sweet bay and cocoplum; with enough of these the willow head
changes character and becomes a bayhead.

Years ago, when alligators were plentiful, they weeded the
willow-bordered solution holes, keeping them open. Consequently, the
willow heads were typically donut-shaped. Today, however, alligators are
scarce and many of the willow heads have no ’gators. The solution holes
fill with muck and peat; relatively tall willows rise out of the deep,
peat-filled centers, with increasingly smaller ones toward the less
fertile edges, and the willow heads take on the characteristic
dome-shaped profile but not nearly the height of the cypress domes. They
have a clumpy, brushy appearance, seeming to grow right out of the marsh
without trunks.

    [Illustration: POMACEA SNAIL—The sole food of the everglade kite]

    [Illustration: EVERGLADE KITE]

    [Illustration: Willow heads with alligator holes typically have a
    doughnut shape—the gator hole representing the hole in the


Willow heads that do have alligator holes have a seasonal concentration
of aquatic animals and the birds and mammals that prey upon them. They
rarely support orchids or bromeliads, for the bark of the southern
willow is too smooth to provide anchorage for the seedlings of these

During drought periods willow heads, like bayheads, are vulnerable to
the fires that sometimes burn over the glades.

                        Web of Life in the Marsh

Around the stems and other underwater parts of the glades plants are
cylindrical masses of yellowish-green _periphyton_. So incredibly
abundant are these masses of living material that in late summer the
water appears as though clogged with mossy-looking sausages and floating
pancakes. Largely algae, but containing perhaps 100 different organisms,
the periphyton supports a complex web of glades life. It is the
beginning of many food chains in the fresh-water marsh. The larvae of
mosquitoes and other invertebrates, larval frogs (tadpoles) and
salamanders, and other small, free-swimming creatures feed upon the tiny
plants and minute animals living in the masses of periphyton. These
periphyton feeders are in turn fed upon by small fish, frogs, and other
vertebrates, which are food for big fish, birds, mammals, and reptiles;
most of these larger creatures are preyed upon by the alligator.

The periphyton is perhaps most important for its role in maintaining the
physical environment of the marsh. The water flowing over the limestone
of the glades is hard with calcium. The algae remove this calcium and
convert it to marl (_see_ glossary), which precipitates to the bottom.
Sawgrass is rooted in this marl; accumulated dead sawgrass forms peat;
other marsh plants, including willows and the trees of the bayheads,
spring up from the peat. Acid from the peat and from decaying plant
matter of the tree islands dissolves some of the marl and underlying
bedrock—and the cycle is complete.

Every plant, every animal, every physical element is involved in this
web of life—as soil builder, predator, plant-eater, scavenger, agent of
decay, or converter of energy and raw materials into food. Damage to or
removal of any of these components—pollution of the water, lowering of
the water table, elimination of a predator, or any interference in the
energy cycle—could destroy the glades as we know them.

    [Illustration: BEGINNING OF FOOD CHAIN]


Every other plant-and-animal community in the park—hammock, mangrove
swamp, pineland, etc.—is an association of large and small organisms
sharing a physical environment. It is impossible to understand either
the park as a whole or the life of a single creature without being aware
of these interrelationships.

                      Alligator Hole in the Glades

Out in the sunny glades the broad leaves of the alligator flag mark the
location of an alligator hole. This is the most incredible ecosystem of
all the worlds within the world of the park; for in a sense the
alligator is the keeper of the everglades.

With feet and snout these reptiles clear out the vegetation and muck
from the larger holes in the limestone. In the dry season, when the
floor of the glades checks in the sun, these holes are oases. Then large
numbers of fish, turtles, snails, and other fresh-water animals take
refuge in the holes, moving right in with the alligators. Enough of
these water-dependent creatures thus survive the drought to repopulate
the glades when the rains return. Birds and mammals join the migration
of the everglades animal kingdom to the alligator holes, feed upon the
concentrated life in them—and in turn occasionally become food for their
alligator hosts.

    [Illustration: ALLIGATOR FLAG]

Lily pads float on the surface. Around the edges arrowleaf, cattails,
and other emergent plants grow. Behind them on higher muckland, much of
which is created by the alligators as they pile up plant debris, stand
ferns, wildflowers, and swamp trees. Algae thrive in the water. The
rooted water plants might become so dense as to hinder the movement and
growth of the fish, were it not for the weeding activities of the
alligators. With the old reptiles keeping the pool open, the fish
thrive, and alligator and guests live well.

Plants piled beside the hole by the alligator decay and form soil with
mud and marl. Ferns, wildflowers, and tree seedlings take root, and
eventually the alligator hole may be the center of a tree island.

So, it’s easy to see how important the alligator is to the ecology of
the park. Unfortunately for this reptile, many people in the past
believed only in the value of its hide. Hunting for alligators became
profitable in the mid-1880’s and continued until the 1960’s. In 1961
Florida prohibited all hunting of alligators, but poaching continued to
take its toll. Finally, the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1969
protected the alligator by eliminating all hunting and trafficking in

As a result of complete protection, the alligator has increased greatly
in number. They are no longer an endangered species in Florida, and they
can easily be found in gator holes and sloughs. Today alligators are
eagerly sought by visitors to Everglades National Park who are anxious
to see and photograph this unique creature. Once again, the alligator is
the keeper of the everglades.

    [Illustration: ACTUAL SIZE AT HATCHING (8″ to 10″)]

    [Illustration: Alligator]

    FISH (gar, bass, etc.)
    TURTLES (soft-shelled and others)

    [Illustration: 40 TO 60 EGGS LAID IN NEST OF HUMUS IN MAY OR JUNE]

    [Illustration: MOTHER TENDS YOUNG 1 TO 2 YEARS


  MOSQUITO (15 species)


Everglades National Park, with its array of plant communities—ranging
from the pines and palmettos rooted in the pitted limestone bedrock of
the park’s dry uplands, through the periphyton-based marsh community and
the brackish mangrove swamp, to the highly saline waters of Florida
Bay—is an amateur botanist’s paradise. Many of the park’s plants are
found nowhere else in the United States. Only here at the southern tip
of the Florida peninsula do tropical trees and orchids mingle with oaks
and pines.

This book is not intended to be a manual for identification of the
Everglades plants. You will need to arm yourself with appropriate field
guides to ferns, orchids, aquatic plants, trees, or whatever your
special interest may be. The reading list in the appendix suggests a

While the park is a mecca for students of plantlife, you must keep one
thing in mind: your collecting will be limited to photographs (and, if
you’re an artist, drawings). _No specimens may be removed or disturbed._
Fortunately, with today’s versatile cameras and high-quality color films
you can take home a complete and accurate record of your plant

Much of our present knowledge of Everglades plantlife has been garnered
by amateurs. Much more needs to be accumulated before an environmental
management program for the park can be perfected, and serious students
of botany are invited to make their data available to the park staff.

As for wild animals, one hardly needs to look for them in this park!
Most visitors come here, at least partly, for that reason. And even
those not seeking wildlife should be alert to avoid stepping on or
running down the slower or less wary creatures. But animal watching is a
great pastime, and it pays to learn to do it right. A few suggestions
may help you make the most of your experience in Everglades.

    [Illustration: BIRDS AND REPTILES]

  Big Cypress Swamp
  Mangrove Swamp
  Pine Rockland
  Coastal Prairie
    Heron Rookeries
    Brown Pelican Rookeries
    Spoonbill Rookeries
    Wood Stork Rookeries
    Sea Turtle Nesting
    Recent Crocodile Nesting

A notebook in which to record your observations will help you discover
that this park is not just a landscape of grass, water, and trees where
a lot of animals happen to live—but a complex, subtropical world of
plant-and-animal communities, each distinct and yet dependent upon the
others. To gain real understanding of this world you will need certain
skills and some good habits. Ability to identify what you see—with the
help of good field guides (_see_ reading list) and quite a bit of
practice—will make things easier and much more enjoyable.

Knowing where to look for the animals helps; this book and the field
guides are useful for this. You’ll find that some species are seen only
in certain parts of the park, while others roam far and wide. Don’t look
for the crocodile in the fresh-water glades—nor for the round-tailed
muskrat in the mangroves. On the other hand, don’t be surprised to see
the raccoon or its tracks in almost any part of the park.

Keep in mind that all species in the national parks are protected by
law. Most wild animals are harmless as long as they are not molested. If
you encounter an animal you aren’t sure about, simply keep out of its
way; don’t try to harm it or drive it off. Always remember that each
animal is part of the Everglades community; you cannot disturb it
without affecting everything else.

                               Air Plants

Long before you have learned to distinguish the major plant communities,
you will be aware of the air plants—or epiphytes—that grow so profusely
in Everglades. Epiphytes are non-parasitic plants that grow on other
plants, getting their nourishment from the air. Best known is Spanish
moss, which festoons the trees of the coastal South from Virginia to
Texas; this plant is used by the swallow-tailed kite in constructing its
beautiful nest. Despite its name, Spanish moss is actually a member of
the pineapple family—the bromeliads. Bromeliads are the most conspicuous
of the park’s air plants. The epiphytic orchids, though less common, are
celebrated for their beauty; their fame, unfortunately, has led to their
widespread destruction. There are also epiphytic ferns, trees, and
vines; and one cactus, the mistletoe cactus, has taken to the air.

Air plants are highly specialized for making a living under crowded
conditions; there are more than 2,000 species of plants competing for
sun and water in southern Florida. The epiphytes have adapted to the
problem of space by growing on other plants. Their roots, although they
absorb some water and minerals, are primarily anchors. Living in an
atmosphere that fluctuates between drought and humidity, they have
evolved several water-conserving tricks. Some have a reduced number of
leaves; others have tough skins that resist loss of water through
transpiration; still others have thick stems, called pseudobulbs, that
store moisture. The bromeliads are particularly ingenious: many have
leaves shaped in such a way that they hold rainwater in vaselike
reservoirs at their bases. Mosquitoes and tree frogs breed in these tiny
reservoirs, and in dry periods many arboreal animals seek the dew that
collects here.

Most of the orchids and bromeliads grow in the dimly lit tropical
hardwood hammocks and cypress sloughs. A few species, however, having
adapted to the sunlight, live on dwarf mangroves and the scattered
buttonwoods, pond apples, willows, and cocoplums of the glades. The
butterfly and cowhorn orchids are sun lovers, as are the twisted,
banded, and stiff-leaved bromeliads. All have adapted to the sun with
dew-condensing mechanisms or vases at the bottom of the clustered

    [Illustration: COMMON BROMELIADS]

    [Illustration: STIFF-LEAVED WILDPINE]

    [Illustration: NEEDLE-LEAVED AIR PLANT]

    [Illustration: SMALL CATOPSIS]

    [Illustration: REFLEXED WILDPINE]

    [Illustration: TWISTED AIR PLANT]

    [Illustration: SOFT-LEAVED WILDPINE]

    [Illustration: SPANISH MOSS]

    [Illustration: BANDED WILDPINE]

    [Illustration: BALL-MOSS]

One tree, the strangler fig, starts as an epiphytic seedling on the
branches of other trees. Eventually, however, it drops long aerial roots
directly to the ground or entwines them about the trunk of the host
tree—which in time dies, leaving a large fig tree in its place.

Of all Everglades plants, the epiphytic orchids are most fascinating to
man—a fact which largely explains their decline. Of some 50,000 species
around the world (the orchids being one of the largest of plant
families), the park has only a few. Fire, loss of habitat due to
agriculture and construction, and poaching by both commercial and
amateur collectors have brought about the extermination of some and have
made others exceedingly rare. Some are rare because of special life
requirements. For example, a few must live in association with a certain
fungus that coats their roots and provides specific nutrients.

The largest orchid in the park is the cowhorn, some specimens of which
weigh as much as 75 pounds. Unfortunately, this orchid has been a
popular item for orchid growers and collectors and is becoming rare in
Florida. Poachers have practically eliminated it from the park. In the
late 1960s Boy Scout friends of Everglades salvaged many orchids from
hammocks about to be bulldozed for the jetport. By laboriously tying
them to trees in the park, they assured the survival of the plants.

The night-blooming epidendrum is perhaps the most beautiful of the
park’s orchids. It is widespread and fairly common in Everglades,
occurring in all ecosystems. Flowering throughout the year, it bears its
white, spiderlike blossoms, 2 inches across, one at a time. It is
especially fragrant at night—hence its name.


    [Illustration: BROWN EPIDENDRUM]

    [Illustration: DOLLAR ORCHID]


    [Illustration: SPREAD-EAGLE ORCHID]

    [Illustration: BUTTERFLY ORCHID]

    [Illustration: FLORIDA ONCIDIUM]

    [Illustration: MULE-EAR ORCHID]

    [Illustration: OBLONG-LEAVED VANILLA]

    [Illustration: GHOST ORCHID]

    [Illustration: SPIDER ORCHID]

    [Illustration: CLAMSHELL ORCHID]

    [Illustration: WORM-VINE ORCHID]

    [Illustration: COWHORN ORCHID]

    [Illustration: TRINIDAD MACRADENIA]

Epiphytic orchids have the smallest seeds of any flowering plants.
Dustlike, they travel far and wide on the air; it is believed that over
eons all species of Florida orchids arrived on the wind from South
America and the West Indies.

The giant wildpine is a spectacular bromeliad that grows on the sturdy
limbs of buttonwoods, spreading to 48 inches and developing a flower
stalk 6 feet long.

Of the approximately 20 species of epiphytic ferns in the park, the most
common is the curious resurrection fern. Sometimes called the poor man’s
barometer, it has leaves that in dry weather curl under and turn brown
but with the coming of rain quickly unfold and turn bright green, making
instant gardens of the logs, limbs, and branches on which they grow.

Watch for the air plants (as well as the trees and other wildflowers)
that have been labeled along the trails and boardwalks. You will be able
to examine some of them closely—but leave them unharmed for future


In the drowned habitats of Everglades it is not surprising to find
water-bound mammals such as the porpoise; or fish-eating amphibious
mammals such as the otter; or even land mammals, such as the raccoon,
that characteristically feed upon aquatic life. But to see mammals that
one ordinarily does not associate with water behaving as though they
were born to it is another matter. The white-tailed deer is an example.
It is so much a part of this watery environment that you will most
likely observe it far out in the glades, feeding upon aquatic plants or
bounding over the marsh. Very probably the deer you see was born on one
of the tree islands, and has never been out of sight of the sawgrass

Many other mammals of Everglades are adapted to a semi-aquatic
existence. The park’s only representative of the hare-and-rabbit clan is
the marsh rabbit; smaller than its close relative, the familiar
cottontail of fields and woodlands, it is as comfortable in this wet
world as if it had webbed feet. So don’t be startled if you see a rabbit
swimming here! The park’s rodents include the marsh rice rat and
round-tailed muskrat, also at home in a watery environment.

The playful otter, though it may travel long distances overland, is a
famous water-lover. Lucky is the visitor who sees a family of these
large relatives of the weasel! The otter’s smaller cousin, the
everglades mink, is also a denizen of the marsh and a predator in the
food web; but you are not likely to see this wary animal.

Raccoons and opossums, adaptable creatures that they are, live in all
the park’s environments—except in the air and under water. Their diets
are as wide-ranging as their habitat. The raccoon, though it has a taste
for aquatic animals such as fish, frogs, and crayfish, also consumes
small land vertebrates and various plant foods. The opossum eats
virtually anything in the animal kingdom that it can find and subdue, as
well as a wide variety of plant materials.


                 ROCKLAND  HAMMOCK          SWAMP    WATER BAY and PRAIRIE
                                                    SWAMPS   KEYS

 Opossum            X         X      X        X        X      X       X
 Short-tailed                                          X
 Least Shrew                                           X
 Marsh Rabbit       X         X      X                 X      X       X
 Fox Squirrel                                 X        ?
 Rice Rat                            X                 X
 Cotton Mouse       X         X      X                 X
 Hispid Cotton                                                        X
 Florida Water                       X                 X
 Raccoon            X         X      X        X        X      X       X    Abundant
 Black Bear         ?         ?      ?        ?        ?              ?    Very rare
 Mink                                X                 X
 River Otter                         X                 X
 Gray Fox                   [1]X
 Bobcat             X         X      X        X        X              X
 Florida panther              X      X        X        X                   Rare
 White-tailed       X         X      X                 X              X
 Bottle-nosed                                                 X
 Manatee                                    [2]X              X

[1]In pinelands.


South Florida is the last known refuge in the world for a sub-species of
cougar known as the Florida panther. This large, beautiful cat is on the
endangered species list. Today many groups and individuals are working
to keep this predator a part of the environment. Their efforts have
resulted in methods to assist panther recovery: lower speed limits and
highway culverts and bridges, to mention only two. With continued
assistance, the panther may remain a part of the Everglades for years to

Because it is much more numerous and much less secretive in its habits,
the bobcat is more likely to be encountered by park visitors than is the
cougar. Keep your eyes alert for this wild feline—particularly in the
Flamingo area—and you may have a chance to observe it closely and at
some length (even by daylight!). Such boldness and such unconcern for
humans are not typical of this species, but seem to be peculiarities of
the bobcats living in the park. Although bobcats are not known as water
lovers, they are found in all the Everglades environments. Their
apparent liking for life in the park may be due to an abundance of food
and to freedom from persecution by man and his dogs. Bobcats in
Everglades, if their food habits elsewhere are any guide, probably live
on rodents, marsh rabbits, and birds, with possibly an occasional fawn.

In Florida Bay and the estuaries, look for the porpoise, or bottlenosed
dolphin, a small member of the whale order that has endeared itself to
Americans through its antics at marine aquariums and on television.
Watch for it when you are on a boat trip in the park’s marine

Much less commonly seen, and much less familiar, is the timid and very
rare manatee. It’s probably the “most” animal of the park—the largest
(sometimes over 15 feet long and weighing nearly 1 ton), the shyest, the
strangest, and the homeliest; and it is probably also the most delicate,
for a drop in water temperatures may kill it. The estuaries of
Everglades National Park are almost the northern limits of its normal
range. But manatees are often found well north of the park on both
coasts in cold weather, when they swim up rivers to seek the
constant-temperature water discharged by electric power plants. Despite
its size, the manatee is a harmless creature, being a grazer—a sort of
underwater cow that is exceptionally vulnerable to motorboats because of
its gentle nature and languid movement.

    [Illustration: MANATEE]




    [Illustration: LOUISIANA HERON

From the pelican—whose mouth can hold more than its belly can—to the
tiny hummingbird, the birds of Everglades National Park add beauty,
amusement, excitement, and drama to the daily scene. Much more
conspicuous than the park’s other animals, they can be enjoyed with no
special effort. But a pair of binoculars and a field guide will make
bird watching a more rewarding pastime for you.

Many of the park’s birds are large and colorful, and so tolerant of
man’s presence that you can observe them closely without the aid of
binoculars. The Anhinga Trail and other sites on or near the main park
road provide ready access to activity by herons and egrets, cormorants,
gallinules, and other species that feed upon the fish, frogs, and lesser
life of the waters.

The anhinga, after whom the park’s most popular trail is named, is a
favorite with visitors. It is also called water-turkey, probably because
of its large size and long, white-tipped tail feathers. A third name,
snake bird, derives from the anhinga’s habit of swimming almost totally
submerged with its long, snaky neck above the surface. The anhinga is a
skilled fisherman, seeking out its quarry by swimming underwater. It
spears a fish with its beak, surfaces, tosses the fish into the air,
catches it, and gulps it down head first. During this activity, the
anhinga has gotten soaked to the skin, for, unlike ducks and many other
water birds, it is not well supplied with oil to keep its plumage dry.
So, following a plunge, the anhinga struggles to the branch of a shrub
or tree, and, spreading its wings, hangs its feathers out to dry.

The snail kite, one of America’s rarest birds, flies low over the
fresh-water marshes, its head pointed downward, searching for its sole
food—the Pomacea snail. A sharply hooked beak enables it to remove the
snail from its shell. More striking in appearance is its cousin, the
swallow-tailed kite, aerial acrobat of the hawk family—a migrant that
nests in the park in spring and spends the winter in South America. On
long, pointed wings this handsome bird eats in the air while holding
itself in one place on the wind. In the mangroves, it hunts in an
unusual way: skimming over the trees, it snatches lizards and other
small animals from the topmost branches. Red-shouldered hawks, often
seen perching on the treetops beside the park road, feed upon snakes and
other small animals. The fish-eating osprey is another conspicuous
resident of the park, and its bulky nests will be seen when you take a
boat trip into Florida Bay or the mangrove wilderness. The bald eagle,
which, sadly, is no longer common in North America and may soon be
exterminated because of pesticide pollution of its fishing waters, is
still holding out in the Everglades region, where 50 or so breeding
pairs seem to be reproducing successfully.

    [Illustration: LITTLE BLUE HERON]


    [Illustration: GREAT BLUE HERON]

    [Illustration: REDDISH EGRET

    [Illustration: WOOD STORK

    [Illustration: AMERICAN (COMMON) EGRET

    [Illustration: LIMPKIN

The long-legged wading birds of the heron family are so numerous and so
much alike in appearance that you will need your bird guide for sure
identification. The waders are interesting to watch, because of the
variety of feeding methods. Particularly amusing are the antics of the
reddish egret as it hunts small animals in the shallows of Florida Bay
at low tide. It is much unlike other herons in its manner of hunting: it
lurches through the shallows, dashing to left and right as if drunk, in
pursuit of its prey. This clownish survivor of the old plume-hunting
days exists in Florida in very limited numbers.

Since about 300 species of birds have been recorded in the park, this
sampling barely suggests the pleasures awaiting you if you plan to spend
some time playing the Everglades bird-watching game.

                        Reptiles and Amphibians

Everglades’ most famous citizen—the alligator—is looked for by all
visitors to the park, who may, however, be unaware that many other kinds
of reptiles and a dozen species of amphibians dwell here.

The American crocodile, less common than the alligator and restricted to
the Florida Bay region, is a shy and secretive animal seen by few
visitors. Similar in size and appearance to the alligator, it is
distinguished by a narrower snout and a lighter color. Its habitat
overlaps that of the alligator, which prefers fresh or brackish water.

The turtles of the park include terrestrial, fresh-water, and marine
species. Box turtles are often seen along the roads. The softshell and
snapping turtles live in the fresh-water areas and are often eaten by
alligators. Loggerhead turtles nest on Cape Sable beaches, otherwise
they rarely come ashore. Their eggs are often discovered and devoured by
the abundant raccoons. But man has been largely responsible for the
loggerhead’s increasing rarity.

Although the park has about two dozen species of snakes, you may not
encounter any of them. Most are harmless—several species of snakes
frequent the waterways, and it is a mistake to assume that any water
snake you see is a moccasin. Two worth watching for are the everglades
rat snake and the indigo snake, both handsome and entirely harmless to
man. The former is a constrictor, feeding mostly on rodents. The indigo
is one of our longest snakes—sometimes reaching more than 100 inches—and
now in danger of extinction.

Ordinary caution and alertness when walking on trails is advisable; but
keep in mind that the snakes are not aggressive, and that as part of the
web of life in the park they are given protection just as are birds and

Of those close relatives of snakes, the lizards, the Florida anole is
most commonly seen. This is the little reptile sold at circuses as a
“chameleon”; it is quite unlike the true chameleon of the Old World. The
so-called “glass snake”—which got its name from its defensive maneuver
of dropping off its tail (which is longer than the rest of its body) and
from its snakelike appearance—is actually a legless lizard. The lizards,
like the smaller snakes, are primarily insectivorous.

The park’s amphibians, too, are quite inconspicuous. The voices of frogs
and toads during the breeding season, however, are part of the
Everglades atmosphere. You will enjoy the nocturnal serenade at
egg-laying time—and it is quite possible to learn to identify species by
their songs, which are as distinctive as those of birds.

The green treefrog, with its bell-like, repeated “queenk-queenk-queenk”
call, is abundant, and can be seen and heard easily during the breeding
season, particularly at Royal Palm Hammock and on the Anhinga Trail.

The cold-blooded vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, and reptiles,
play a significant role in the balance of life in the park, feeding upon
each other and upon lesser animals and in turn being food for larger
predators such as herons, hawks, raccoons, and otters.


“Fishing Reserved for the Birds,” says the sign at the beginning of the
Anhinga Trail. Actually, the catching of fish in the fresh waters of the
park is an important activity not only for herons, anhingas, grebes, and
ospreys, but also for raccoons, mink, turtles, alligators ... and bigger
fish. Not surprisingly in the drowned habitats of Everglades, even the
smallest fish are important in the web of life.

One tiny species, the gambusia, is of special interest to us. This
2-inch fish is credited with helping keep down the numbers of mosquitoes
by feeding upon their aquatic larvae. This accounts for its other
name—mosquito fish—and for its popularity with humans. But its services
to us are not the measure of the gambusia’s importance, for it is a link
in many food chains in the park’s brackish and fresh-water habitats.
Beginning with algae, we can trace one such chain through mosquito
larvae, sunfish, and bass, to end with the alligator. We can only guess
at the extent of the ecological effects of the loss of a single species
such as the little gambusia.

The larger fish of Everglades are the most sought after. Sport fishermen
want to know where to find and how to recognize the many varieties of
game fish, especially largemouth bass and such famed salt-water and
brackish zone species as tarpon, snook, mangrove snapper, and barracuda.
Because of its cycles of flood and drought, and the shifting brackish
zones, however, the distribution and the numbers of fish fluctuate
greatly in the glades and mangrove regions. At times of drought, the
fish concentrations are particularly evident. In mid- or late winter,
sloughs that are no longer deep enough to flow, pools, and other
standing bodies of water will have a myriad of gambusia, killifish, and
minnows. Larger fish seek the sanctuary of the headwaters of the Harney,
Shark, and Broad Rivers. At such times concentrations of bass may be so
great that the angler may catch his daily limit in a few hours. (There
are no legal limits for the herons and ’gators!)

As water levels continue to fall, salt water intrudes farther inland;
such species as snook and tarpon move up the now brackish rivers, and
may be seen in the same waters as bluegills and largemouth bass.

In some years water levels drop so severely that concentrations of fish
are too great for the habitat to support. As the surface water shrinks,
the fish use up the available free oxygen and begin to die. The largest
expire first; the smaller fish seem less vulnerable to depleted oxygen
supply. Even though many tons of fish may perish in such a die-off, a
few small specimens of each variety survive to restock the glades when
the rains return.

With no cold season when fish must remain dormant, and with a year-round
food supply, bass and sunfish grow rapidly and reach breeding size
before the next drought.

These fish kills are associated with drought conditions that occur in
the ordinary course of events, and thus are natural phenomena not to be
considered ecological disasters. But man’s violent upsetting of the
drainage patterns of south Florida, through airport, canal, and highway
construction and other developments, can bring about such drastic
shortages (or even surpluses) of water that irreparable damage could be
done to the ecology of Everglades aquatic communities.

While fish watching may not be the exciting sport that bird watching is,
you are the loser if you ignore this part of the life of Everglades.
Fish are so abundant in the park that no one has to haul them in on a
line to discover them. You can hardly miss spotting the larger
fresh-water forms if you take the trouble to look down into the sloughs,
ponds, and alligator holes.

Identifying the species of fish, however, is more difficult. The
voracious-looking Florida spotted gar is an exception. This important
predator on smaller fishes, which is in turn a major item in the diet of
the alligator, is quite easily recognized. Experienced anglers will spot
the largemouthed bass and the bluegill sunfish. You’ll see these and
others as you walk on the Anhinga Trail boardwalk.

As you watch alligators and other native Everglades predators, you may
get an inkling of how important in the web of life are the prolific fish
populations of the sloughs, marshes, swamps, and offshore waters of the

                       Animals without Backbones

Insects are the most noticeable of the park’s invertebrates. (At times
you may find your can of repellent as important as your shoes!) In all
the fresh-water and brackish environments, insects and their larvae are
important links in the food chains—at the beginning as primary consumers
of algae and other plant material, and farther along as predators,
mostly on other insects. Some insects are parasites on the park’s
warmblooded animals (including you).

The invertebrates most sought by visitors are molluscs—or rather, their
shells. You may find a few on the beach at Cape Sable, but don’t expect
to find the park a productive shelling area. Stick to marine
shells—_dead_ ones. You cannot collect the fresh-water molluscs. Also
protected are the tree snails of jungle hammocks. Famed for their
beauty, these snails of the genus _Liguus_, which grow to as much as 2½
inches in diameter, feed upon the lichens growing on certain hammock
trees. Look for them—but leave them undisturbed, for they are a part of
the community, protected just as are the park’s royal palms and its

    [Illustration: INDIANS IN SOUTH FLORIDA]

  Indian Mounds
  Indian Villages
  Big Cypress Swamp
  Mangrove Swamp
  Pine Rockland
  Coastal Prairie

                       INDIANS OF THE EVERGLADES

Your first awareness of the south Florida Indians will probably come
during a trip along the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41, the cross-State highway
just north of the park). You will notice clusters of Indian homes close
to the road. Some are built on stilts, are thatched with palm fronds,
and are open-sided so that no walls hamper the flow of cooling breezes.
Many of the glades Indians prefer to live as their ancestors did some
150 years ago when they were newcomers to the everglades. Others have
adopted the white man’s dwellings (as well as his occupations).

The Indians of south Florida—Miccosukees, sometimes called “Trail
Indians”; and Muskogees, the “Cow Creek Seminoles”—are separate tribes,
not sharing a common language. Today no Indians live inside the park

The Indians arrived in Spanish Florida after the American Revolution.
Many Creeks of Georgia and Alabama, crowded by the aggressive white man,
fled south to the peninsula. They first settled in north Florida; when
Florida became a State in 1845 they had to retreat farther south. Driven
into the interior during the Seminole War of 1835, they eventually
settled in the everglades, where deer, fish, and fruit were available.
Though their territory is now much more limited, they still retain much
of their independent spirit, and have never signed a peace treaty with
the U.S. Government.

Many earn their living operating air boats, as proprietors and employees
of roadside businesses, and in a variety of jobs on farms and in cities.
The women create distinctive handicraft items, which find a ready market
with tourists.

No one is certain when the first Indians—the Calusas and
Tequestas—appeared in south Florida; it may have been more than 2,000
years ago. Even more than today’s glades Indians, these coastal Indians
lived with the rhythm of river and tides, rain and drought. Hunting,
fishing, and gathering of shellfish were their means of existence. We
have learned this much of their life from artifacts unearthed from the
many Indian mounds or washed up along the beaches. They lived on huge
shell mounds, made pottery, used sharks’ teeth to make saws, and
fashioned other tools from conch shells. They even built impoundments
for fish—a few remains of these can be seen today. They were ingenious
hunters. (Ponce de León and his Spanish explorer-marauders were said to
have been turned back from the everglades by the deadly arrows these
Indians fashioned from rushes.)

    [Illustration: ]

Following the arrival of the Spanish, these early Indians disappeared
from the scene. They were apparently wiped out, destroyed by the white
man’s diseases as much as by his aggression; but some may have escaped
to Cuba. Perhaps a handful of them were still in the everglades when the
Creeks came down from the north in 1835, and were absorbed into the new
tribe. Their known history ends here.

Proud, independent, and ingenious in wresting a living from the land and
the water, the Indians knew how to live with nature. Unlike the white
man, they fitted into the plant-and-animal communities. Today these
communities have been severely disrupted. In the few decades that the
white man has been “developing” the region, he has broken every chain of
life described in this book.

Alligator populations have been much reduced in south Florida; their
chief prey, the garfish, has in some places become so numerous as to
constitute a nuisance (most of all to the fresh-water anglers, some of
whom had a hand in the killing of alligators). The pattern of waterflow
over the glades, through the cypress swamps, and into the mangrove
wilderness has been altered by highways and canals. Much of the habitat
has been wiped out by construction of homes and factories and by farming
operations. An increasingly alarming development is the pollution of
glades waters by agricultural chemicals.

Only through complete understanding of this fragile, unique subtropical
world can man reverse the destructive trend. Only through carefully
applied protective and management practices can we make progress toward
restoring to the Everglades some of its lost splendor.


    [Illustration: Tropical thicket]


ALGAE: (pronounced “AL-jee”) A group of plants (singular: ALGA,
pronounced “AL-ga”), one-celled or many-celled, having chlorophyll,
without roots, and living in damp places or in water.

BRACKISH WATER: Mixed fresh and salt water. Many species of plants and
animals of marine and fresh-water habitats are adapted to life in
estuaries and coastal swamps and marshes, where the water varies greatly
in degree of salinity. Some animal species can be found in all three

BROMELIAD: A plant of the pineapple family. Many bromeliads are air
plants, growing (not parasitically) on the trunks and branches of other
plants, or even, as in the case of “Spanish moss,” on telephone wires.

COMMUNITY: The living part of the ecosystem; an assemblage of plants and
animals living in a particular area or physical habitat. It can be as
small as a decaying log, with its variety of mosses, insect larvae,
burrowing beetles, ants, etc.; or as large as a forest of hundreds of
square miles.

DECIDUOUS TREES: Trees that shed their leaves annually. Most hardwood
trees are deciduous; some conifers, such as larches and baldcypresses,
are deciduous.

ECOLOGY: The study of the relationship of living things to one another
and to their physical environment.

ENDANGERED: A species of plant or animal that, throughout all or a
significant portion of its range, is in danger of extinction.

ENVIRONMENT: All the external conditions, such as soil, water, air, and
organisms, surrounding a living thing.

ESTIVATION: A prolonged dormant or sleeplike state that enables an
animal to survive the summer in a hot climate. As in hibernation,
breathing and heartbeat slow down, and the animal neither eats nor

ESTUARY: The portion of a river or coastal wetland affected by the rise
and fall of the tide, containing a graded mixture of fresh and salt

EVERGLADE: A tract of marshy land covered in places with tall grasses.
(In this book, “the everglades” refers to the river of grass;
“Everglades” refers to the park, which contains other habitats besides

EXOTIC: A foreign plant or animal that has been introduced,
intentionally or unintentionally, into a new area.

FOOD CHAIN: A series of plants and animals linked by their food
relationships, beginning with a green plant and ending with a predator.

HABITAT: The place where an organism lives; the immediate surroundings,
living and unliving, of an organism. The habitat of the pine warbler is
the pinelands; the habitat of an internal parasite of this bird is the
body of the warbler.

HAMMOCK: A dense growth of broad-leaved trees on a slightly elevated
area, not wet enough to be a swamp. In the park, hammocks are surrounded
either by pineland or by marshland (glades).

HARDWOOD TREES: Trees with broad leaves (as opposed to conebearing
trees, which have needles or scales). Most hardwood trees are deciduous,
though many in south Florida retain their leaves throughout the year.

KEY: A reef or low-lying island. In south Florida, the term “key” is
often also applied to hammocks or pinelands, which occupy areas where
the limestone is raised above the surrounding wetlands.

LIMESTONE: A sedimentary rock derived from the shells and skeletons of
animals deposited in seas, and consisting mostly of calcium carbonate.
Soluble in water having a slight degree of acidity, it is often
characterized by caverns and, in the everglades, by a very pitted
surface. The rock underlying most of the park is the Miami Oölite
(pronounced OH-uh-lite), formed during a recent glacial period. Oölitic
limestone is composed of tiny round concretions, only indirectly derived
from marine shells.

MANGROVE: Any of a group of tropical or subtropical trees, growing in
estuaries and other low-lying coastal areas, usually producing aerial
roots or prop roots and often forming dense growths over a large area.
In south Florida there are four species, belonging to three different

MARSH: A wetland, salt or fresh, where few if any trees and shrubs grow,
characterized by grasses and sedges; in fresh-water marshes, cattails
are common.

MARL: In this book, used in the sense of a deposit of mixed limestone
and smaller amounts of clay; south Florida marls are sometimes called
lime muds.

PEAT: Partly decayed, moisture-absorbing plant matter accumulated in
bogs, swamps, etc.

PREDATOR: An animal that lives by capturing other animals for food.

SLOUGH: A channel of slow-moving water in coastal marshland. The Shark
River Slough and Taylor Slough are the main channels where the glades
water flows in the park. Generally remaining as reservoirs of water when
the glades dry in the rainless season, they are important to survival of
aquatic animals.

SWAMP: Wetland characterized by shrubs or trees such as maples, gums,
baldcypresses, and, in south Florida coast areas, mangroves. Fresh-water
swamps are usually not covered by water the year around.

THREATENED: A species still present in its range but that, without
significant changes in conditions, is capable of becoming endangered.

TREE ISLAND: An island of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants growing
on an elevation, in a depression, or at the same level as the
surrounding glades. Includes hammocks, willow heads, cypress heads, and

                       For Reading and Reference

Ashton, Ray Jr., and Patricia Sawyer Ashton. _Handbook of Reptiles and
Amphibians of Florida._ Vol. 1, _The Snakes_; Vol. 2, _Lizards, Turtles
and Crocodilians_; Vol. 3, _The Amphibians_. Miami: Windward Publishing,
Inc., 1981-88.

Bell, C. Ritchie, and Bryan J. Taylor. _Florida Wildflowers and Roadside
Plants._ Chapel Hill: Laurel Hill Press, 1982.

Cox, W. Eugene. _In Pictures—Everglades: The Continuing Story._ Las
Vegas: K. C. Publications, 1989.

Craighead, Frank C. _The Role of the Alligator in Shaping Plant
Communities and Maintaining Wildlife in the Southern Everglades._
Maitland: Florida Audubon Society, 1969.

de Golia, Jack. _Everglades: The Story Behind the Scenery._ Las Vegas:
K.C. Publications, 1981.

Douglas, Marjory Stoneman. _Everglades: River of Grass._ St. Simons
Island, Georgia: Mockingbird Books, 1974.

Downs, Dorothy. _Miccosukee Arts and Crafts._ Miami: Miccosukee Tribe of
Indians of Florida, 1982.

Hoffmeister, John Edward. _Land From Sea: The Geologic Story of South
Florida._ Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1968.

Lane, James A. _A Birder’s Guide to Florida._ Denver: L&P Press, 1989.

Peterson, Roger Tory. _A Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies._
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980.

Robertson, William B. _Everglades: The Park Story._ Homestead, Florida:
Florida National Parks and Monuments Association, Inc., 1989.

Romashko, Sandra. _The Shell Book._ Miami: Windward Publishing, Inc.,

Stevenson, George B. _Trees of the Everglades National Park and the
Florida Keys._ Miami: Banyan Books, Inc., 1984.

Tebeau, Charlton E. _Man in the Everglades._ Coral Gables: University of
Miami Press, 1968.

Toops, Connie M. _The Alligator: Monarch of the Marsh._ Homestead,
Florida: Florida National Parks and Monuments Association, Inc., 1988.

Toops, Connie. _Everglades._ Stillwater, Minnesota: Voyageur Press,

Truesdell, William G. _A Guide to the Wilderness Waterway of the
Everglades National Park._ Coral Gables: University of Miami Press,

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. _Rare and Endangered Fish and Wildlife
of the United States._ Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office,

Williams, Winston. _Florida’s Fabulous Waterbirds: Their Stories._
Tampa: Worldwide Printing, 1984.

Zim, Herbert S. _Everglades National Park and the Nearby Florida Keys._
New York: Golden Press, 1985.

                          Rare and Endangered Animals

Here is a partial list of the rare and endangered species and subspecies
found in Everglades National Park and Fort Jefferson National Monument.

    Florida Panther (Cougar)
    West Indian Manatee (Sea Cow)
    Snail Kite
    Southern Bald Eagle
    Arctic Peregrine Falcon
    Cape Sable Sparrow
    Wood Stork
    Red-cockaded Woodpecker
  Reptiles and Amphibians
    Green Turtle
    Eastern Indigo Snake
    Hawksbill Turtle
    Loggerhead Turtle
    American Crocodile

                          Checklist of Mammals

More than 40 species of mammals are found in Everglades National Park.
Many of them are species commonly associated with drier habitats that
have adapted to the semi-aquatic environment that comprises most of the
park. It is not uncommon to see whitetail deer wading through the
sawgrass prairie or a bobcat foraging for food in a mangrove swamp. This
list is made up of species found within the boundary of the park or in
the immediate area. Species considered exotic to Everglades National
Park are marked with an asterisk (*).

  Opossum    _Didelphis marsupialis_
  Short-tailed shrew    _Blarina brevicauda_
  Least shrew    _Cryptotis parva_
  Eastern mole    _Scalopus aquaticus_
  Seminole bat    _Lasiurus seminolus_
  Florida yellow bat    _Lasiurus intermedius_
  Evening bat    _Nycticeius hymeralis_
  Brazilian free-tailed bat    _Tadarida brasiliensis_
  Florida mastiff bat    _Eumops glaucinus_
  Nine-banded armadillo    _Dasypus novemcinctus_*
  Marsh rabbit    _Sylvilagus palustris_
  Eastern cottontail    _Sylvilagus floridanus_
  Gray squirrel    _Sciurus carolinensis_
  Fox squirrel    _Sciurus niger_
  Southern flying squirrel    _Glaucomys volans_
  Rice rat    _Oryzomys palustris_
  Cotton mouse    _Peromyscus gossypinus_
  Cotton rat    _Sigmodon hispisus_
  Roundtail muskrat    _Neofiber alleni_
  Roof rat    _Rattus rattus_*
  Norway rat    _Rattus norvegicus_
  House mouse    _Mus musculus_*
  Atlantic bottlenosed dolphin    _Tursiops truncatus_
  Short-finned, or Pilot, whale    _Globicephala marcorhyncha_
  Gray fox    _Urocyon cineroargenteus_
  Red fox    _Vulpes vulpes_*
  Domestic dog    _Canis familiaris_*
  Black bear    _Ursus americanus_
  Raccoon    _Procyon lotor_
  Coati    _Nasua narica_*
  Everglades mink    _Mustela vison_
  Long-tailed weasel    _Mustela frenata_
  Eastern spotted skunk    _Spirogale putorius_
  Striped skunk    _Mephitis mephitis_
  River otter    _Lutra canadensis_
  Florida panther    _Felis concolor coryi_
  Bobcat    _Lynx rufus_
  Domestic cat    _Felis domesticus_*
  West Indian Manatee    _Trichechus manatus_
  Domestic pig    _Sus scrofa_*
  Whitetail deer    _Odocoileus virginia_

                           Checklist of Birds

This is a complete list of the birds known in the park—347 species as of
June 1, 1985—along with a key indicating the abundance and seasonal
occurrence of each species. As noted in this list many birds are known
in the park from only a few sightings. A few are exotic birds that have
escaped captivity. Species considered exotic to Everglades Park are
marked with an asterisk (*). Users can contribute to updating future
lists by carefully recording details of their observations of less
common species and reporting that information to park personnel. For
purposes of this listing the seasons are as follows:

  Spring: March 1 to May 31
  Summer: June 1 to July 31
  Fall: August 1 to November 15
  Winter: November 16 to February 28

  Key to Checklist
    C Common
    U Uncommon
    R Rare
    F Fewer than 10 sightings
    B Breeds in park
    ? Uncertain if species breeds in park

  Name of Bird                    Breeds in park Spring Summer  Fall  Winter

  Red-throated Loon                                                     F
  Common Loon                                      R             R      R
  Pied-billed Grebe                     B          C      U      C      C
  Horned Grebe                                     C             C      C
  Red-necked Grebe                                                      F
  Sooty Shearwater                                        F
  Wilson’s Storm Petrel                                   F
  Brown Booby                                             F
  Northern Gannet                                  F             F      F
  American White Pelican                           C      R      C      C
  Brown Pelican                         B          C      C      C      C
  Great Cormorant                                                       F
  Double-crested Cormorant              B          C      C      C      C
  Anhinga                               B          C      C      C      C
  Magnificent Frigatebird                          U      U      U      U
  American Bittern                      ?          U      R      U      C
  Least Bittern                         B          U      U      U      U
  Great Blue Heron                      B          C      C      C      C
  Great Blue Heron (White phase)        B          C      C      C      C
  Great Egret                           B          C      C      C      C
  Snowy Egret                           B          C      C      C      C
  Little Blue Heron                     B          C      C      C      C
  Tricolored Heron                      B          C      C      C      C
  Reddish Egret                         B          U      U      U      U
  Cattle Egret                          B          C      C      C      C
  Green-backed Heron                    B          C      C      C      C
  Black-crowned Night Heron             B          C      C      C      C
  Yellow-crowned Night Heron            B          U      U      U      U
  White Ibis                            B          C      C      C      C
  Scarlet Ibis (probably                           R      R      R      R
  Glossy Ibis                           B          U      U      U      U
  White-faced Ibis                                               F
  Roseate Spoonbill                     B          C      U      C      C
  Wood Stork                            B          U      R      U      U
  Great Flamingo (probably                         R      R      R      R
  Fulvous Whistling Duck                           U      U      U      U
  Snow Goose                                                            F
  Snow Goose (Blue Phase)                                               F
  Brant                                                                 R
  Canada Goose                                                          F
  Wood Duck                                                             R
  Green-winged Teal                                U             R      U
  American Black Duck                                                   F
  Mottled Duck                          B          C      C      C      C
  Mallard                                                               R
  White-checked Pintail                            F                    F
  Northern Pintail                                 C             R      C
  Blue-winged Teal                                 C      R      C      C
  Cinnamon Teal                                    F
  Northern Shoveler                                C      R      C      C
  Gadwall                                          R                    R
  Eurasian Wigeon                                                       F
  American Wigeon                                  C             C      C
  Canvasback                                       R                    R
  Redhead                                          R                    R
  Ring-necked Duck                                 C             C      C
  Greater Scaup                                                         F
  Lesser Scaup                                     C             C      C
  Oldsquaw                                                              F
  Black Scoter                                                          F
  Surf Scoter                                                           F
  Common Goldeneye                                                      F
  Bufflehead                                                            R
  Hooded Merganser                                 U             R      U
  Red-breasted Merganser                           C      R      C      C
  Ruddy Duck                                       U             U      C
  Masked Duck                                                           F
  Black Vulture                         B          C      C      C      C
  Turkey Vulture                        B          C      C      C      C
  Osprey                                B          C      C      C      C
  American Swallow-tailed Kite          B          C      C      R
  Black-shouldered Kite                            F      F
  Snail Kite                            B          R      R      R      R
  Mississippi Kite                                 F             F
  Bald Eagle                            B          C      C      C      C
  Northern Harrier                                 U             U      C
  Sharp-shinned Hawk                               U             U      U
  Cooper’s Hawk                                    R             R      R
  Red-shouldered Hawk                   B          U      R      U      U
  Broad-winged Hawk                                U             U      U
  Short-tailed Hawk                     B          U      R      U      U
  Swainson’s Hawk                                  R             R      U
  Red-tailed Hawk                       B          U      U      U      U
  Rough-legged Hawk                                                     F
  Golden Eagle                                                          F
  Crested Caracara                                                      F
  American Kestrel                                 C             C      C
  Merlin                                           U             U      U
  Peregrine Falcon                                 U             U      U
  Wild Turkey                           B          R      R      R      R
  Northern Bobwhite                     B          C      C      C      C
  Yellow Rail                                                           F
  Black Rail                                                            R
  Clapper Rail                          B          C      C      C      C
  King Rail                             B          C      C      C      C
  Virginia Rail                                    R             R      R
  Sora Rail                                        C             C      C
  Purple Gallinule                      B          C      C      C      C
  Common Moorhen                        B          C      C      C      C
  American Coot                         B          C      R      C      C
  Caribbean Coot                                   F             F      F
  Limpkin                               B          C      C      C      C
  Sandhill Crane                        B          R      R      R      R
  Black-bellied Plover                             C      R      C      C
  Lesser Golden Plover                             R             R      R
  Snowy Plover                                            F             F
  Wilson’s Plover                       B          C      C      C      U
  Semipalmated Plover                              C      U      C      C
  Piping Plover                                    U             U      U
  Killdeer                              B          C      U      C      C
  American Oystercatcher                                                R
  Black-necked Stilt                    B          U      R      U      R
  American Avocet                                  C      U      C      C
  Greater Yellowlegs                               C      U      C      C
  Lesser Yellowlegs                                C      U      C      C
  Solitary Sandpiper                               U             U      R
  Willet                                ?          C      U      C      C
  Spotted Sandpiper                                C             C      C
  Upland Sandpiper                                 F             F
  Whimbrel                                         U      R      U      U
  Long-billed Curlew                               R             R      R
  Hudsonian Godwit                                 F                    F
  Marbled Godwit                                   C      R      C      C
  Ruddy Turnstone                                  C      U      C      C
  Red Knot                                         U      R      U      U
  Sanderling                                       U             U      U
  Semipalmated Sandpiper                           U             U      R
  Western Sandpiper                                C      R      C      C
  Least Sandpiper                                  C      U      C      C
  White-rumped Sandpiper                           R      R
  Baird’s Sandpiper                                              R
  Pectoral Sandpiper                               C             C      R
  Sharp-tailed Sandpiper                                         F
  Dunlin                                           C             C      C
  Curlew Sandpiper                                                      F
  Stilt Sandpiper                                         U      U      R
  Buff-breasted Sandpiper                                        F
  Ruff                                                           F
  Short-billed Dowitcher                           C      U      C      C
  Long-billed Dowitcher                            U      U      U      R
  Common Snipe                                     U             U      U
  American Woodcock                                R                    R
  Wilson’s Phalarope                                             F
  Red-necked Phalarope                                           F
  Parasitic Jaeger                                                      F
  Laughing Gull                         B          C      C      C      C
  Franklin’s Gull                                                       F
  Bonaparte’s Gull                                 U                    U
  Ring-billed Gull                                 C      U      C      C
  Herring Gull                                     C      U      C      C
  Lesser Black-backed Gull                                              F
  Great Black-backed Gull                                               F
  Gull-billed Tern                                 U      U      U      U
  Caspian Tern                                     C      R      C      C
  Royal Tern                                       C      U      C      C
  Sandwich Tern                                    U      U      U      U
  Roseate Tern                                                          R
  Common Tern                                      U             U      U
  Forster’s Tern                                   C      U      C      C
  Least Tern                            B          C      C      U
  Bridled Tern                                            F
  Sooty Tern                                              F      F
  Black Tern                                       U      U      U      R
  Brown Noddy                                             F      F
  Black Skimmer                                    C      C      C      C
  Rock Dove*                                       F      F      F      F
  White-crowned Pigeon                  B          C      C      C      U
  White-winged Dove                                F      F      F      F
  Zenaida Dove                                            F
  Mourning Dove                         B          C      C      C      C
  Common Ground Dove                    B          U      U      U      U
  Key West Quail Dove                              F                    F
  Budgerigar (escapes)                             F      F
  Rose-ringed Parakeet (escapes)                          F
  Monk Parakeet (escapes)                          F
  Canary-winged Parakeet                           F
  Yellow-billed Cuckoo                  B          C      C      C      R
  Mangrove Cuckoo                       B          U      U      U      U
  Smooth-billed Ani                     B          U      U      U      U
  Groove-billed Ani                                F      F             F
  Common Barn Owl                       B          U      U      U      U
  Eastern Screech Owl                   B          C      C      C      C
  Great Horned Owl                      B          R      R      R      R
  Burrowing Owl                                                         R
  Barred Owl                            B          C      C      C      C
  Long-eared Owl                                                        F
  Short-eared Owl                                  R             R      R
  Lesser Nighthawk                                 F                    F
  Common Nighthawk                      B          C      C      C      R
  Chuck-will’s-widow                    B          C      C      C      R
  Whip-poor-will                                   U             U      C
  Chimney Swift                                                  R
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird                        C      R      C      C
  Belted Kingfisher                                C      R      C      C
  Red-headed Woodpecker                                                 F
  Red-bellied Woodpecker                B          C      C      C      C
  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker                         U             U      C
  Downy Woodpecker                      B          U      U      U      U
  Hairy Woodpecker                      B          R      R      R      R
  Red-cockaded Woodpecker           Extirpated
  Northern Flicker                      B          C      C      C      C
  Pileated Woodpecker                   B          C      C      C      C
  Ivory-billed Woodpecker           Extirpated
  Olive-sided Flycatcher                                         F
  Eastern Wood Pewee                               U             U      R
  Acadian Flycatcher                                             R
  Willow Flycatcher                                              R
  Least Flycatcher                                 U      U      U      R
  Eastern Phoebe                                   C             C      C
  Say’s Phoebe                                                          F
  Vermilion Flycatcher                             F                    F
  Great Crested Flycatcher              B          C      C      C      C
  Brown-crested Flycatcher                         R                    R
  Tropical Kingbird                                F                    F
  Western Kingbird                                 U             U      U
  Eastern Kingbird                      B          C      C      C      R
  Gray Kingbird                         B          C      C      C
  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher                        R             R      R
  Purple Martin                                    C      C      C
  Tree Swallow                                     C             C      C
  Northern Rough-winged Swallow                    U             U      R
  Bank Swallow                                     U             U
  Cliff Swallow                                    R             U
  Barn Swallow                          B          U      R      C      R
  Blue Jay                              B          C      C      C      C
  American Crow                         B          C      C      C      C
  Fish Crow                                                             F
  Tufted Titmouse                                  R                    R
  White-breasted Nuthatch                                               F
  Brown-headed Nuthatch             Extirpated
  Brown Creeper                                                         F
  Carolina Wren                         B          C      C      C      C
  House Wren                                       C             C      C
  Winter Wren                                                           F
  Sedge Wren                                       U             U      U
  Marsh Wren                                       U             U      U
  Ruby-crowned Kinglet                             U             U      U
  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                            C             C      C
  Eastern Bluebird                  Extirpated
  Veery                                            U             U
  Gray-cheeked Thrush                              U             U
  Swainson’s Thrush                                U             U      F
  Hermit Thrush                                    U             U      R
  Wood Thrush                                      R             R      F
  American Robin                                                       R-C
  Gray Catbird                                     C             C      C
  Northern Mockingbird                  B          C      C      C      C
  Brown Thrasher                                   U             U      U
  Water Pipit                                                    R      R
  Cedar Waxwing                                   R-C           R-C    R-C
  Loggerhead Shrike                     B          U      U      U      U
  European Starling*                    B          U      U      U      U
  Hill Myna (probably escapes)                     F
  Thick-billed Vireo                                                    F
  White-eyed Vireo                      B          C      C      C      C
  Bell’s Vireo                                                   F      F
  Solitary Vireo                                   U             U      U
  Yellow-throated Vireo                            U             U      U
  Warbling Vireo                                   F             F
  Philadelphia Vireo                               R             R
  Red-eyed Vireo                                   C             C      F
  Black-whispered Vireo                 B          C      C      C
  Blue-winged Warbler                              R             R      F
  Golden-winged Warbler                            R             R
  Tennessee Warbler                                U             U      R
  Orange-crowned Warbler                           U             U      U
  Nashville Warbler                                F             R      F
  Northern Parula                                  C      R      C      C
  Yellow Warbler                        B          C      C      C      U
  Chestnut-sided Warbler                           R             R
  Magnolia Warbler                                 U             U      R
  Cape May Warbler                                U-C           U-C     R
  Black-throated Blue Warbler                      C             C     U-R
  Yellow-rumped Warbler                           R-C           R-C     C
  Black-throated Gray Warbler                                           F
  Black-throated Green Warbler                     U             U      U
  Blackburnian Warbler                             U             U      F
  Yellow-throated Warbler                          C      U      C      C
  Pine Warbler                          B          C      C      C      C
  Kirtland’s Warbler                                                    F
  Prairie Warbler                       B          C      C      C      C
  Palm Warbler                                     C             C      C
  Bay-breasted Warbler                                           F      F
  Blackpoll Warbler                                C             R
  Cerulean Warbler                                               R
  Black-and-white Warbler                          C             C      C
  American Redstart                                C      U      C      U
  Prothonotary Warbler                             U             U      F
  Worm-eating Warbler                              U             U      R
  Swainson’s Warbler                               R             R
  Ovenbird                                         C             C      C
  Northern Waterthrush                             C             C      C
  Louisiana Waterthrush                            C      U      C      R
  Kentucky Warbler                                 R             R      F
  Connecticut Warbler                              R
  Mourning Warbler                                 F
  Common Yellowthroat                   B          C      C      C      C
  Hooded Warbler                                   U             U      F
  Wilson’s Warbler                                 R             R      F
  Yellow-breasted Chat                             U             U      U
  Bananaquit                                                     F
  Stripe-headed Tanager                                                 F
  Summer Tanager                                   R             R      F
  Scarlet Tanager                                  F             F      F
  Western Tanager                                  F             F      F
  Northern Cardinal                     B          C      C      C      C
  Rose-breasted Grosbeak                           U             U      R
  Blue Grosbeak                                    U             U      F
  Indigo Bunting                                   C             C      R
  Painted Bunting                                  C             C     U-R
  Dickcissel                                       F             F      F
  Rufous-sided Towhee                   B          C      C      C      C
  Black-faced Grassquit                                   F      F
  Bachman’s Sparrow                                F             F      F
  Chipping Sparrow                                 R             R      R
  Clay-colored Sparrow                             R             R      R
  Field Sparrow                                    U             U      U
  Vesper Sparrow                                   F             F      F
  Lark Sparrow                                                   F      F
  Lark Bunting                                            F             F
  Savannah Sparrow                                 C             C      C
  Grasshopper Sparrow                              U             U      U
  Le Conte’s Sparrow                                                    F
  Sharp-tailed Sparrow                             R             R      U
  Seaside Sparrow                                                       R
  Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow            B          C      C      C      C
  Song Sparrow                                                          F
  Lincoln’s Sparrow                                                    R-U
  Swamp Sparrow                                    C             C      C
  White-throated Sparrow                                         F      F
  White-crowned Sparrow                                          R      F
  Dark-eyed Junco                                                F      F
  Bobolink                                         C             C      F
  Red-winged Blackbird                  B          C      C      C      C
  Eastern Meadowlark                    B          C      C      C      C
  Yellow-headed Blackbird                          R             R      R
  Rusty Blackbird                                                       F
  Brewer’s Blackbird                                                    R
  Boat-tailed Grackle                   B          C      C      C      C
  Common Grackle                        B          C      C      C      C
  Bronzed Cowbird                                                       F
  Brown-headed Cowbird                             U             U      R
  Orchard Oriole                                   U             U
  Spot-breasted Oriole                             F
  Northern Oriole (Baltimore                       C             C      R
  Northern Oriole (Bullock’s                       R             R      R
  Pine Siskin                                                           F
  American Goldfinch                               C             C      C
  House Sparrow*                        B          U      U      U      U

                 Checklists of Reptiles and Amphibians

More than 50 species of reptiles, including 26 species of snakes and 16
species of turtles, have been found in Everglades National Park. The
reptiles include, of course, the alligator, which is the symbol of the
Everglades. Less conspicuous than the reptiles are the 18 species of
amphibians that live here. Many are nocturnal. These lists represent
species found within the park or nearby. Species considered exotic to
Everglades National Park are marked with an asterisk (*).


  American crocodile    _Crocodylus acutus_
  American alligator    _Alligator mississippiensis_
  Florida snapping turtle    _Chelydra serpentina_
  Striped mud turtle    _Kinosternum bauri_
  Stinkpot    _Sternotherus odoratus_
  Florida box turtle    _Terrapene carolina_
  Diamondback terrapin    _Malaclemys terrapin_
  Peninsula cooter    _Chrysemys floridanis_
  Florida redbelly turtle    _Chrysemys nelsoni_
  Florida chicken turtle    _Deirochelys reticularia_
  Gopher tortoise    _Gopherus polyphemus_
  Atlantic green turtle    _Chelonia mydas_
  Atlantic hawksbill    _Eretmochelys imbricata_
  Atlantic loggerhead    _Caretta caretta_
  Atlantic ridley    _Lepidochelys kempi_
  Florida softshell    _Trionyx ferox_
  Indopacific gecko    _Hemidactylus garnoti_*
  Florida reef gecko    _Shpaerodactylus notatus_
  Green anole    _Anolis carolinensis_
  Brown anole    _Anolis sagrai_*
  Knight anole    _Anolis equestris_*
  Common iguana    _Iguana iguana_*
  Ground skink    _Scincella lateralis_
  Eastern glass lizard    _Ophisaurus ventralis_
  Island glass lizard    _Ophisaurus compressus_
  Florida green water snake    _Nerodia cyclopion_
  Brown water snake    _Nerodia taxispilota_
  Florida water snake    _Nerodia fasciata pictiventris_
  Mangrove salt marsh snake    _Nerodia fasciata compressicauda_
  South Florida swamp snake    _Seminatrix pygaea_
  Florida brown snake    _Stoeria dekayi_
  Eastern garter snake    _Thamnophis sirtalis_
  Peninsula ribbon snake    _Thamnophis sauritus_
  Striped crayfish snake    _Regina alleni_
  Eastern hognose snake    _Heterodon platyrhinos_
  Southern ringneck snake    _Diadopis punctatus_
  Eastern mud snake    _Farancia abacura_
  Everglades racer    _Coluber constrictor_
  Eastern coachwhip    _Masticophis flagellum_
  Rough green snake    _Opheodrys aestivus_
  Eastern indigo    _Drymarchon corais_
  Corn snake    _Elaphe guttata_
  Everglades rat snake    _Elaphe obsoleta_
  Yellow rat snake    _Elaphe obsoleta quadrivitatta_
  Florida kingsnake    _Lampropeltis getulus_
  Scarlet kingsnake    _Lampropeltis triangulum_
  Florida scarlet snake    _Cemophora coccinea_
  Eastern coral snake    _Micrurus fulvius_
  Florida cottonmouth    _Agkistrodon piscivorus_
  Dusky pygmy rattlesnake    _Sistrurus miliarius_
  Eastern diamondback    _Crotalus adamanteus_


  Two-toed amphiuma    _Amphiuma means_
  Greater siren    _Siren lacertina_
  Everglades dwarf siren    _Pseudobranchus striatus belli_
  Peninsula newt    _Notophthalmus viridescens_
  Eastern spadefoot toad    _Scaphiophus holbrooki_
  Greenhouse frog    _Eleuthrodactylus planirostris_*
  Southern toad    _Bufo terrestris_
  Oak toad    _Bufo quercicus_
  Florida cricket frog    _Acris gryllus_
  Green treefrog    _Hyla cinerea_
  Squirrel treefrog    _Hyla squirella_
  Cuban treefrog    _Osteopilus septentrionalis_*
  Little grass frog    _Limneaodus ocularis_
  Florida chorus frog    _Pseudacris nigrita_
  Eastern narrow-mouth toad    _Gastrophyne carolinesis_
  Pig frog    _Rana grylio_
  Southern leopard frog    _Rana spenocephala_

                Checklist of Trees and Tree-like Plants

A tree is defined here as a woody plant at least 12 feet high with a
single trunk 2 inches or more in diameter at breast height. A tree-like
plant is one with the general shape and size of a tree, but one which is
not woody or otherwise fails to meet the definition. The arrangement of
families is generally the same as that of Small’s _Manual of
Southeastern Flora_ (1933) and Long and Lakela’s _A Flora of Tropical
Florida_ (1971). Genera and species are listed alphabetically in each
family. Nomenclature follows Avery and Loope, _Plants of Everglades
National Park: A Preliminary Checklist of Vascular Plants_ (1983). In
the checklist, the introduced species are followed by a symbol, key
below, that describes the plants’ success in the Everglades. Native
plants list only their name.

  We  Well established. An exotic plant that has become widely
      naturalized, with a large population.
  Sl  Slightly naturalized. An exotic plant that has a small foothold,
      often found near a mature tree that acts as a seed source.
  Pr  Persistent. An exotic plant that goes on living for a long time
      after it is planted, and that may appear to be native or
  Sm  Small, rarely tree-sized. A plant that may sometimes become a
      tree, but that often does not meet the definition.
  Cu  Cultivated only. Known only as a cultivated species, but which is
      retained on this list because either Small or Long and Lakela
      treat it as native or naturalized.

  South Florida Slash Pine    _Pinus elliottii_ var. _densa_

  Pond cypress    _Taxodium ascendens_
  Bald cypress    _Taxodium distichum_

  Paurotis palm    _Acoelorraphe wrightii_
  Silver palm    _Coccothrinax argentata_
  Coconut    _Cocos nucifera_ Sl
  Royal palm    _Roystonea elata_
  Cabbage palm    _Sabal palmetto_
  Saw palmetto    _Serenoa repens_
  Thatch palm    _Thrinax radiata_

  False sisal    _Agave decipiens_
  Sisal    _Agave sisalana_ We
  Spanish dagger    _Yucca aloifolia_

  Banana    _Musaceae musa_ × _paradisiaca_

  Australian-pine    _Casuarina equisetifolia_ We
  Suckering Australian-pine    _Casuarina glauca_ Pr

  Willow    _Salix caroliniana_

  Wax-myrtle    _Myrica cerifera_

  Laurel oak    _Quercus laurifolia_
  Live oak    _Quercus virginiana_

  Hackberry    _Celtis laevigata_
  West Indian trema    _Trema lamarckianum_
  Florida trema    _Trema micranthum_

  Strangler fig    _Ficus aurea_
  Shortleaf fig    _Ficus citrifolia_
  Red mulberry    _Morus rubra_

  Graytwig    _Schoepfia chrysophylloides_
  Tallowwood    _Ximenia americana_

  Pigeon plum    _Coccoloba diversifolia_
  Sea grape    _Coccoloba uvifera_

  Blolly    _Guapira discolor_
  Push-and-hold-back    _Pisonia aculeata_

  Sweet bay    _Magnolia virginiana_

  Pond apple    _Annona glabra_

  Lancewood    _Nectandra coriacea_
  Red-bay    _Persea borbonia_
  Avocado    _Persea americana_ var. _americana_

  Jamaica caper    _Capparis cynophallophora_
  Limber caper    _Capparis flexuosa_ Sm

  West Indian cherry    _Prunus myrtifolia_

  Coco-plum    _Chrysobalanus icaco_

  Sweet acacia    _Acacia farnesiana_
  _Acacia pinetorum_ Sm
  Shy leaf    _Aeschynomene americana_ var. _americana_
  _Aeschynomene pratensis_ var. _pratensis_
  Women’s tongue    _Albizia lebbeck_ Sl
  Orchid tree    _Bauhinia purpurea_ Sl
  _Cassia aspera_
  Bahama senna    _Cassia Chapmanii_
  _Cassia deeringiana_
  Golden shower    _Cassia fistula_ Pr
  _Cassia ligustrina_
  Sickle-pod    _Cassia obtusifolia_
  _Dalbergia brownei_
  Royal ponciana    _Delonix regia_
  Coral-bean    _Erythrina herbacea_
  Jumbie bean    _Leucaena leucocephala_ Sl
  Wild tamarind    _Lysiloma latisiliquum_
  Jamaica dogwood    _Piscidia piscipula_
  Black-bead    _Pithecellobium guadalupense_
  Cat’s claw    _Pithecellobium unguis-cati_
  Necklace pod    _Sophora tomentosa_

  _Citrus_ spp. Pr
  Wild lime    _Zanthoxylum fagara_

  _Alvaradoa amorphoides_
  Paradise-tree    _Simarouba glauca_

  Bay cedar    _Suriana maritima_ Sm

  Gumbo-limbo    _Bursera simaruba_

  Mahogany    _Swietenia mahagoni_

  Locust-berry _Brysonima lucida_

  Crabwood    _Ateramnus lucidus_
  _Bischofia javanica_ Sl
  Milk Bark    _Drypetes diversifolia_
  Guiana-plum    _Drypetes lateriflora_
  Manchineel    _Hippomane mancinella_

  Poisonwood    _Metopium toxiferum_
  Southern sumac    _Rhus copallina_ var. _leucantha_
  Brazilian-pepper    _Schinus terebinthifolius_ We
  Hogplum    _Spondias purpurea_

  Dahoon    _Ilex cassine_
  Tawnyberry holly    _Ilex krugiana_

  Ground holly    _Crossopetalum ilicifolium_ Sm
  Rhacoma    _Crossopetalum rhacoma_ Sm
  Guttapercha mayten    _Maytenus phyllanthoides_

  Red maple    _Acer rubum_

  Varnish-leaf    _Dodonaea viscose_ var. _linearis_
  Inkwood    _Exothea paniculata_
  White ironwood    _Hypelate trifoliata_
  Spanish lime    _Melicoccus bijugatus_ Pr
  Soapberry    _Sapindus saponaria_

  Coffee colubrina    _Colubrina arborescens_
  _Colubrina asiatica_
  Cuban colubrina    _Colubrina cubensis_ Sm
  Black ironwood    _Krugiodendron ferreum_

  Strawberry-tree    _Muntinoia calabura_ Pr

  Wild cotton    _Gossypium hirsutum_
  _Hibiscus rosa-sinensis_ Pr
  Turk’s cap    _Malvaviscus arboreus_ var. _mexicanus_
  Cork tree    _Thespesia populnea_

  Wild-cinnamon    _Cannela winterana_

  Papaya    _Carica papaya_

  Prickly apple    _Cereus gracilus_ var. _simpsonii_
  Dildo    _Cereus pentagonus_

  Red mangrove    _Rhizophora mangle_

  Black olive    _Bucida buceras_ Pr
  Buttonwood    _Conocarpus erectus_
  White mangrove    _Laguncularia racemosa_
  Indian almond    _Terminalia catappa_ Pr

  Bottlebrush    _Callistemon viminalis_ Pr
  Spicewood    _Calyptranthes pallens_ var. _pallens_
  Myrtle-of-the-river    _Calyptranthes zuzygium_
  White stopper    _Eugenia axillaris_
  Spanish stopper    _Eugenia foetida_
  Cajeput    _Melaleuca quinquenervia_ Sl
  Simpson stopper    _Myrcianthes fragans_ var. _simpsonii_
  Guava    _Psidium guajava_ We
  Long-stalked stopper    _Psidium longipes_ var. _longipes_ Sm

  Spanish leather    _Tetrazygia bicolor_

  Joe-wood    _Jacquinia keyensis_

  Marlberry    _Ardisia escallonioides_
  Shoebutton ardisia    _Ardisia solanacea_ We
  Myrsine    _Myrsine floridana_

  Saffron-plum    _Bumelia celastrina_
  _Bumelia reclinata_ var. _reclinata_ Sm
  Willow bustic    _Bumelia salicifolia_
  Satin leaf    _Chrysophyllum oliviforme_
  Wild dilly    _Manilkara bahamensis_
  Mastic    _Mastichodendron foetidissimum_

  Persimmon    _Diospyros virginiana_

  Wild-olive    _Forestiera segregata_ var. _pinetorum_ Sm
  Florida-privet    _Forestiera segregata_ var. _segregata_ Sm
  Pop ash    _Fraxinus caroliniana_

  _Thevetia peruviana_ Pr
  Pearl-berry    _Vallesia antillana_

  Smooth strongbark    _Bourreria cassinifolia_
  Strongbark    _Bourreria ovata_
  Geiger-tree    _Cordia sebestena_

  Black Mangrove    _Avicennia germinans_

  Fiddlewood    _Citharexylum fructicosum_
  Java Glory-bowers    _Cleradendrum speciosissimum_

  Potato tree    _Solanum erianthum_

  Seven-year-apple    _Casasia clusiifolia_
  Buttonbush    _Cephalanthus occidentalis_
  Black torch    _Erithalis fruticosa_ Sm
  Velvet seed    _Guettarda elliptica_
  Rough velvet-seed    _Guettarda scabra_
  Firebush    _Hamelia patens_
  Indigo-berry    _Randia aculeata_ Sm

  Southern elderberry    _Sambucus canadensis_

  Groundsel-tree    _Baccharis glomeruliflora_ Sm
  Groundsel-tree    _Baccharis halimifolia_ Sm

                              Handbook 143

The National Park Service expresses its appreciation to all those
persons who made the preparation and production of this handbook
possible. Special thanks are extended to Frank Craighead, Sr., Pat
Miller, Bill Robertson, and Saul Schiffman, who read the manuscript and
provided much useful information. The checklists were compiled over many
years by various members of the Everglades National Park staff. The
Service also gratefully acknowledges the financial support given this
handbook project by the Everglades Natural History Association, a
nonprofit group that assists interpretive efforts at the park. The cover
photograph is by Glenn van Nimwegen.

                         National Park Service
                    U.S. Department of the Interior

As the Nation’s principal conservation agency, the Department of the
Interior has responsibility for most of our nationally owned public
lands and natural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of
our land and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife,
preserving the environmental and cultural values of our national parks
and historical places, and providing for the enjoyment of life through
outdoor recreation. The Department assesses our energy and mineral
resources and works to assure that their development is in the best
interest of all our people. The Department also has a major
responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for
people who live in island territories under U.S. administration.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Relocated all image captions to be immediately under the corresponding
  images, removing redundant references like ”preceding page”.

—Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

—Added “Glossary” to the Table of Contents

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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