Florida’s Native Flora & Fauna: Coreopsis & Florida Panther

Featuring Florida’s native flora (plant life) and fauna (animal life) so you can learn to recognize, appreciate, and protect native species.

Florida’s Native Flora & Fauna Featuring some of Florida’s native flora (plant life) and fauna (animal life) so you can learn to recognize, appreciate, and protect native species. We’ll also aim to dispel myths and provide tips for managing conflicts with wildlife. Coreopsis Coreopsis is Florida’s state wildflower! Commonly known as tickseed, coreopsis comes in many species and varieties. Most are annuals or short-lived perennials with daisy-like yellow flowers. They typically bloom in spring and summer, although some species bloom sporadically throughout the year. You can find them growing naturally on roadsides and in fields across the United States. But they are also worthy of being planted in the garden. Some species reseed readily. Seeds are sold from local garden centers and from the Florida Wildflower Growers Cooperative. Sow your seeds anytime from October through January. Find a sunny spot and plant the seeds no more than one-eighth of an inch deep. Once established, this plant is drought tolerant and doesn’t require much care. In addition to being low maintenance, you can enjoy the variety of pollinators it brings to the yard. Florida Panther Florida panthers and bobcats are the only two wild cats found in Florida and panthers are by far the larger of the two. Panthers are a subspecies of the North American puma, and the only puma population east of the Mississippi is the Florida panther. At one time, panthers ranged throughout Florida, and beyond. But today, populations exist primarily in southwest Florida with some extending up to Orlando and occasionally further north. It is not uncommon to find males outside of this range as they search for their own territories. Most females, however, are found south of Lake Okeechobee which is where most panthers reproduce. While an estimated 120-230 adult panthers roam today, a population of only 20-30 existed in the early 1990s. These low numbers can be attributed to early settlers that saw them as a threat to livestock and as competitors for game. At one point in time, the state of Florida even had a bounty on panther scalps. Of course, the loss of habitat and genetic diversity within the population were also factors that pushed them to near extinction. To save the panther, genetic restoration was implemented in 1995 by releasing eight female Texas pumas. This conservation initiative mimicked the genetic exchange between panthers and pumas from Texas that once occurred naturally, before panthers became isolated in south Florida. This “new blood” has helped the Florida panther population become healthier and more abundant. But conserving panther habitat continues to be critical to their survival.


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Posted: January 10, 2022

Category: Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Natural Resources, Wildlife
Tags: Animals, Native Animals, Native Plants, Natural Resources, Perennials, Species Spotlight, Wildflowers, Wildlife

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