Autumnal Thoughts – Flights of Forest Fancy

Seasons can be difficult to recognize in South Florida. You have to look hard to find fall color, last year I found some Red Maples with red foliage in the nearby swamp – long about December. I have learned to look to the Indian River for signs of fall, there is always a mullet run when the seasons turn and I am just starting to see the little fish jumping out of the water, I enjoy the mullet run – it is a sign that relief from the oppressive heat is close at hand.

Royal Ponciana Delonix regia

Royal Ponciana
Delonix regia

Another sign of fall is the Poncianas are slowing down on the flowering and producing gigantic green pods. The ferny foliage is still shimmery green, but the pods foretell a soon to be naked tree. Getting in touch with my inner plant nerd (not difficult) I did some research on the Ponciana and found it is native to Madagascar and rarely seen there anymore. Another Madagascar native that is popular in landscaping here is the Bismarck Palm. This one is planted unfortunately near a power pole Рthat is not fruit. This Palm has huge silvery fronds, costapalmate! and literally 4 feet wide. The fronds sound like big pieces of cardboard rubbing together. Fruit is borne in grape like clusters of 2 inch wide shiny mahogany colored nuts. I planted one a month or so ago and it is supposed to take more than 2 months for the seed to germinate and 86 degrees Fahrenheit is the required temperature. So far nothing on that front.

Bismarck Palm Bismarckia nobilis

Bismarck Palm
Bismarckia nobilis

Here is my Flight of Forest Fancy, both these trees supposedly occurred in Forests.

Just imagine these forests – the Palm and the Ponciana can get to be 60 feet tall.