Local News

Festival, walks celebrate native plants

VENUS-The explosion of orange blossoms in March is hard to ignore, but tracking down the more modest, elusive flowers of local native plants often requires a sharper eye. Do you know any other unusual spring flowers found only in the Florida scrub? How do these plants thrive in the harsh, sandy conditions?

This year a new Pygmy Fringe Tree Wildflower Festival is being organized to celebrate the blooming season of native wildflowers found on the Lake Wales Ridge.

Sponsored by a team of local organizations-South Florida State College, Bok Tower Gardens, Archbold Biological Station, The Nature Conservancy, and Champions for Children-the festival kicked off Thursday at South Florida State College.

There will be music, art, a plant sale, exhibits, and walks along the college's Wildflower Shrine Trail.

This will be followed Friday and Saturday by other wildflower walks at sites along the ridge, including Bok Towers, Tiger Creek Preserve, and Archbold Biological Station.

The wildflower walk at Archbold Biological Station will be led by Archbold scientist Stacy Smith from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

"I plan to share lots of stories about local wildflowers, and discuss Archbold's research on native plants," she said.

Archbold Biological Station is 8 miles south of Lake Placid. The entrance is 1.8 miles south of S.R. 70 on Old S.R. 8.

For more information, go to http://www.fringetreewildflowerfestival.com/.

For more information about the Tiger Creek Preserve wildflower walk, contact Steve Morrison at 863-443-4716 or steve_morrison@tnc.org.)