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!
Quick post today to share with you one of my favorite terrestrial orchids of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts – the southern white fringed orchid! Often difficult to photograph in Florida’s bright summer sunlight, heavy overcast skies were a huge in helping...
One of my very favorite types of wild native orchids I’ve found in the wild are those belonging to the tribe Cymbidieae, all of which are found in the tropics or subtropics. Not only are the flowers spectacularly colorful and often large, each plant often has...
Welcome to the first part of my new series, “Profiles in Nature”. Over the years I’ve amassed a great deal of information about natural history as a result of a lot of reading and being a natural outdoorsman. I grew up fascinated with the plants and...
Orchids. Just the very word brings to mind a vision of exotic color, delightful texture and fantastic shapes, and the scent of consummate and delicious fragrances. Often it evokes feelings of peaceful reflection, caring, and a love for nature’s most wondrous...
After years of talking about it, planning it, traveling around the state of Florida shooting for it – I am please to announce that my first book, “Native Orchids of Florida” by Rich Leighton is now published and available....
The green adder’s-mouth orchid (Malaxis unifolia) is one of those species that does and will continue to elude the best of the orchid hunters. Not only is it quite rare across the state of Florida, but it is one of the most easily overlooked. Found primarily in...