The best thing about the Miami Everglades is the unique ecosystem you get to witness every time you visit. When you tour the Everglades, you’ll see a wide variety of wildlife and plants you won’t find all in one place anywhere else in the world. Conservation efforts are crucial to maintaining this ecosystem and have made progress bringing it back over the past few decades. That means you’ll get to see a variety of grasses, flowers, and trees throughout your airboat tour.
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Certain Grasses and Flowers Thrive in the Wetlands
Keep an eye out for a few iconic plants of the Florida Everglades, from grass to flowers, that help wildlife survive. Some of them may come immediately to mind when you think of Southern Florida marshlands, but seeing them in person is a whole new experience.
The Everglades get their nickname, the River of Grass, from sawgrass, which grows through the watery marshes. From afar, it looks similar to the grass you find in your yard at home or even hay. However, while you’re cruising through the Miami Everglades on an airboat, you don’t want to run your hands through it. It’s actually very sturdy and there are teeth that run along one side of each blade, so you could get some nasty cuts from running your hands along them.
A popular garden flower, orchids are certainly beautiful to see. In the Everglades, they grow up the trunks of trees so that they can get more light. Under the trees, it can be difficult to get enough sunlight for orchids to survive but luckily, they’re epiphytes, meaning they cling to other organisms, like vines do. Don’t worry, they don’t harm the trees, they simply wind their way upwards.
Don’t mistake these flowers for orchids, though they may have a similar look. Rather, bandanna-of-the-Everglades is a bright yellow flower also known as the Golden Canna. Their blooms open in late evening and close by midday, meaning you’ll have to get your timing right to enjoy their full beauty. The Brazilian Skipper and dragonflies also use these flowers as a safe place to hide larvae until they mature, as well as attracting bees and butterflies.
Everglades Trees Provide Shade for Wildlife
While you may think mostly of water and grass when you picture the Everglades in your head, there are actually a number of trees that thrive there, too. They offer some much needed shade for wildlife living throughout the Miami Everglades.
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These impressive trees grow along shorelines, their roots coming out from their trunks to help anchor them in shallow water. This helps them trap dirt and leaves, eventually creating land below them. In Southern Florida, they’re a well known and much loved tree because they can actually help reinforce shorelines, minimizing the impact of hurricanes on the land. Mangroves also come in red, black, and white varieties and the largest mangrove forest is located in the Everglades.
There are two species of cypress in the Everglades: bald cypress and pond cypress. These trees are well suited to thrive in the marshlands of the Miami Everglades, where soil is often of poorer quality and mostly waterlogged. Their roots use “knees” to get the oxygen they need to grow. Groups of cypress can also grow into cypress domes and cypress savannahs.
Another iconic tree of Florida, you’ll find a variety of palms throughout the Miami Everglades. Some, like palmettos, may seek somewhat drier soil away from the grassy marshlands, while other palms are able to thrive in the grassy waters you’ll glide through on your airboat tour.
Enjoy Spying All the Everglades Plant Life on an Everglades Tour
Though you may have seen many of the plants of the Everglades in pictures or maybe even on their own in a garden, it doesn’t compare to seeing them all together in the wild. The Everglades are a truly spectacular experience for anyone with an appreciation for plants and wildlife. On your airboat tour, you’ll learn all about the flora and fauna you see, as well as conservation efforts to ensure future generations get to enjoy the beauty of the Everglades, too.