families or pairs, can be found loping across
the street or grazing in your yard. And look
up to that light tower, or if you’re on the
water, the channel markers, and you might
see an osprey nest. If you develop an interest
in birds, be sure to contact the Venice Area
Audubon Society at www.veniceaudubon.
org for information on special events and
bird walks in the area.
According to the state of Florida, a native
plant is a plant species that is presumed
to have been present in Florida before
European contact. Exotic or invasive are
terms most often applied to major nonnative
plant pest species. An interesting fact:
Florida has more native trees than any other
state except Hawaii, so there is no way we’ll
be able to list them all here.
One of the most photographed trees in
our area is the banyan tree. These grand
trees form canopies along Manasota Key
Road and on the aptly named Banyan
Street in Boca Grande. The Southwest
Florida region is also home to the majority
of Florida’s red, black and white mangroves
and the buttonwood. These tropical trees
grow along the shore and are crucial to many
aquatic species, and so are protected by local
and state regulations. Other trees common
to the area are slash and spruce pines, the
laurel and diamond oak and unfortunately,
the invasive Brazilian pepper trees, an
especially troublesome species as contact
with it can cause a nasty skin reaction.
Englewood is also home to many fruit
bearing trees. The lemons, grapefruit,
oranges and mangoes on your table could
come from trees in your own backyard or
from down the street.
Flowers you will find here include the
classic beach sunflower, orange canna lily,
bromeliads and hibiscus of all colors and
many more. If you want to know more about
planting a garden or are just curious about
the plants and trees you see every day, visit
the Florida Native Plant Society website
www.fnps.org. You can join the local chapter
at www.mangrove.fnpschapters.org, or you
can join the Lemon Bay Garden club at
Editor’s Note: Our community is so rich with
wildlife and vegetation we can’t begin to present
all of it here. We hope you enjoy experiencing
our amazing natural environment.
Cereus cacti, “Queen of the Night”,
can be found throughout the area.