Ahh October

While it seems winter is bearing down on the Northern Hemisphere, things are looking up here in South Florida. The oppressive heat is abating and I have been madly renovating my screen porch furniture in preparation for our gardening season. All new cushion covers and some new (to me) vintage Rattan furniture for lounging. Temperatures are hovering in the 80’s (Fahrenheit, Centigrade confounds me) so it is becoming very pleasant.

I am always looking for signs of Fall here and the pickings aren’t as slim as I once thought. It is your perception that must change. I associate the Royal Ponciana tree with the beginning of Summer.  Their cousin of a different genus, Dwarf or Cuban Ponciana start blooming in earnest in October. The harbinger of Fall:

Dwarf Ponciana Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Dwarf Ponciana
Caesalpinia pulcherrima

These trees are smaller than but similar to the Royal Poinciana, and varieties are available with yellow and coral flowers as well as the red mixed which is most commonly seen. Other things I am now considering fall color are certain Bromeliad flowers (Aechmea blanchetiana) and Bird of Paradise. The tropical Golden Rain Tree (Koelrueteria bipinnatus) is just starting to flower here. In December the pods on the Raintree give us a little more Autumnal feeling.

Blanchetiana Bromeliad

Blanchetiana Bromeliad

Tropic Florida does have some more typical fall fruiting plants. The Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, native to a large part of the Eastern United States is common here as well. The red berries are from our native shrub, Wild Coffee, Psychotria nervosa. I have seen Beautyberry Jelly but never consumed any and supposedly the Wild Coffee has psychedelic effects so coffee brewed with something other than the Wild Coffee berries is a better idea. Blueberry Scones and Starbucks coffee are more in my line of thinking for breakfast fare.



Wild Coffee

Wild Coffee

I know that if I wait long enough, I will spy a Red Maple with some dull purple Fall color, usually in December and in a swamp somewhere. But with all these other Fall beauties I am not missing the Maples – Much.

23 comments on “Ahh October

  1. mattb325 says:

    I love that dwarf Poinciana – something totally new!
    Dull purple isn’t too bad for autumn colour, but I’m quite amazed that deciduous trees have a natural range so close to the equator.


  2. Chloris says:

    How wonderful to be able to grow Caesalpinia. I have tried it in the greenhouse, it germinates very readily. It always dies before it gets to flowering size. I suppose there isn’ t enough sun here.
    You would need to be brave or desparate to try consuming a plant named Phsycotria nervosa.


    • There are a fair number of seedlings around but I want a coral pink one. Picky, I know. My understanding is you must be a Shaman to use the Wild Coffee and there are some weird concoctions in the Caribbean..


  3. We are having the same Fall experiences here. The Fall flowers have started to bloom and it is also time to plant seeds for the spring. I was also getting the porch furniture ready for eating outdoors and our stores are out of cushions! Don’t they know it is the time to be outside?


  4. That bromeliad is so unique! What does the foliage look like?


  5. i like that approach: “It is your perspective that must change”.


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