Florida is world-renowned for its beautiful landscapes. With over 1350 miles of coastline from the Atlantic Ocean to the Florida Keys to the northern Gulf of Mexico, there are an incredible number of unique and beautiful habitats, especially in the Florida Everglades. We also have thousands of islands, lakes and rivers (many of those are spring-fed) and of course our unique forest habitats from Central and Northern Florida down to our oak and scrub pinelands. The following galleries have a little bit of everything that the best of Sunshine State landscapes have to offer.
Sulphurs and Whites
Did you know that Florida is home to over 1,320 species of butterflies and moths? That number is still growing with careful and painstaking research, more new species are being discovered all the time!
Birds of Prey
When it comes to birds, the Sunshine State is fantastically rich in species diversity. The geography of Florida’s Peninsula creates a natural migratory route for millions of birds each year as they head south over the Caribbean towards Central and South America (and back). While some species are found all around the world, we are lucky to have 196 species of birds that live and breed in Florida.
Rabbits and Hares
We mammals have come a long way since the time of the dinosaurs. Since those times, we’ve conquered the land, sea and air. Florida has at least 99 species of mammals living, breeding and thriving today.
96% of all currently living animal lifeforms alive today are invertebrates. Included are all the insects, arachnids, worms, crabs, shellfish, starfish, corals, and more! One thing they all have in common? No backbone.
Long before the first dinosaur walked the earth, reptiles ruled the world. 65 million years after the last dinosaur drew its final breath, North America’s modern crocodiles, alligators, snakes, lizards, and turtles and tortoises are still keeping our Florida natural history alive!
Did you know the word “amphibian” means “two lives”? All amphibians start their lives in the underwater, but after they go through a series of metamorphosis stages to adulthood, most trade gills for lungs and live the rest of their lives out of the water. Florida is home to 33 native and non-native species of frogs and toads, and many more species of salamanders, newts and sirens!
One of the largest families in the plant kingdom with nearly 28 thousand species around the globe, orchids are also one of the most popular and most sought-after flowering plants in history. In Victorian times, entire foreign expeditions were sent around the world at great personal risk led by fearless (and often ruthless) orchid hunters to acquire the next new unknown exotic species from the most distant corner of the Earth. Luckily for us, Florida is rich with unique native species found nowhere else in the world!
Wildflowers by Color
Wildflowers by Family
By far our largest collection of galleries, these wildflower image sets are arranged by both color and by taxonomic family for use as a casual identification tool or field guide, or for more thorough scientific research for deeper understanding.
Sometimes called insectivorous plants, these amazing plants have adapted to a life in places where the soil is so poor in nutrients, that they’ve gained the ability to grow by trapping their food with modified leaves. By taking root in a harsh habitat, they have eliminated most of their competition from other plants.
This last and final collection of galleries include all the non-wildflower images such as our native trees, ferns, palms, fruits and berries, cacti, saprophytes, mosses, bromeliads and more!
Certain species of orchids are parasitic. They are not able to produce food (sugar) using the sunlight and carbon dioxide (like other green plants with chlorophyll). Instead, they obtain food from fungi that live inside their roots. MORE PHOTOS OF NATIVE ORCHIDS MORE...
Roughly 10 percent of all plant species are orchids, making them the largest plant family on Earth. MORE PHOTOS OF ORCHIDS MORE FLORIDA NATURE FACTS Florida Nature Facts is a series about interesting facts about the flora, fauna and places that make Florida so...
Our native orchids have a symbiotic relationship with certain fungi called a mycorrhizal association. The fungus provides nutrients to the orchid plant, and the orchid is a home to the fungus. Orchid seeds are so tiny they do not have enough food to nourish a...
To say that the number of wild native orchids found around the world is massive would be a massive understatement. Approximately 28,000 orchid species are found alive today which more or less equals the number of bony fish species found in the waters all over the...
Probably the most famous of our southern native orchids, the rare, leafless and mysterious ghost orchid of South Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas is at home in the dark, humid swamps where it regularly skips a few to up to a dozen or more years between flowering. It is...
Ten years ago I spotted my first wild ghost orchid in the Fakahatchee Strand of Southwest Florida after literally years of exhaustively searching the wetlands and wading through enormous tracts of swamp following a grid pattern on a worn-out, folded-up survey map....