Friday, February 12, 2010

Sea Grape

Sea Grape,, coccoloba uvifera, is a remarkable native, salt tolerant plant found along many of Florida's beaches. They grow as low spreading bushes or tall continuous hedges along the sand dunes.
this one resides in our back yard, not on a dune and this is what it usually looks like.

The thick circular leaves can be 8" to 10" in diameter and it has grape-like clusters of fruit that our native birds and mammals eat while using the protective canopy for a habitat. These include songbirds, lizard’s gopher tortoise and beach mice

Sea Grape helps stablize sand dunes and protect against erosion. It is protected under Florida Statue, which means leave it alone. It is cold hardy and when the leaves turn in the fall, they are a beautiful red.

Above is what our beautiful plant looks like after the unseasonable cold in the past two months.
about 15 years ago, my husband found what looked like a dead limb about 2 feet long floating in the water, no leaves, just the stick. he brought it home and planted it. I scoffed "that stick will never grow". WRONG   It grew into a bush/tree 25 feet tall and about 25 feet around.

Even with all the leaves off, it left beautiful patterns and shadows for the Madsnapper to Snap.
The sun came out for a couple of days and even though is was still far below our average temps, New Growth sprouted. Below is the tiny leaf unfolding (about 1/2 inch)

And Far, Far up in the top of the dead sticks, Life Appeared.

Yes! the new green sprouts turn bright orange in color and by the time they are full size they are brilliant green.

In March my husband will cut the 25 foot tree back to 10 and with in 2 months it will be 25 feet again and the leaves so thick the trunk can not be seen. All this from a floating stick.
Isn't God's Creation wonderful?


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful plant. Love the photos. Have a fab weekend Sandra x

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Very pretty, Sandra. I have seen that plant on sand dunes many times --and never knew what it was. Thanks for educating me today!!!!

Have a great weekend and Valentine's Day.

Stacey Dawn at "Addicted to The Click" said...

Yes! God's creations are awesome!

Ginny said...

What a story! I didn't know about any of this, it's very interesting. I would be interested to see pictures of this in the fall with the red leaves. Perhaps you will do another post on it then. I have never heard of this plant, and the stick story is far out. I love how many different pictures you took to tell the story. BEACH MICE?! What are they? I love little mice,some of my favorite stories are Beatrix Potter's Two Bad Mice. Do you have these beach mice nearby and are they the same as regular mice? I have heard of water rats, that's in "The Wind In The Willows", I think.

Tipper said...

Neat plant-I like the shiny leaves-and it's good thats its tough enough for this weather too.

Ulrika said...

Beautiful photos Sandra! And very interesting to read, since it's so different from where I live.

Have a great weekend!

SquirrelQueen said...

It must be a super hardy plant to grow from a single stick but I do know it can happen. The leaves are beautiful. I don't remember seeing this one before, I'll have to check and see if it grows here on the west coast beaches.