One of the first things I ever identified with as a young naturalist were trees. While in my younger years I competed in tree ID competitions with other schools and generally enjoyed preserving specimens and having my tree ID notebook with me. My 6th grade biology teacher even gave me her pressed leave collection from college and I honored her samples by preserving them with the upmost care. Eventually my attention drifted from trees to reptiles, where it would stay for the next decade, but I have always kept a fondness for trees and shrubs.
Of course when I moved to Florida I must admit that I have felt over my head with identifiying all the varied native and exotic flora. I know the main species but there are so many more that I am clueless about. Even David Allen Sibley excluded much of Florida in his new book, The Sibley Guide to Trees, stating "All native trees are included in the species accounts of this book, except those trees found only in southern Florida, which is home to over one hundred native species found nowhere else on the continent." I guess I am not alone in feeling a little overwhelmed. Despite my shortcomings though, I do enjoy the trees of South Florida and wanted to provide you with a little glimpse into our tree diversity.
A more clear trail at Sadowski Park in Miami-Dade County.
The trails are littered with tree roots. We may not have any elevation change down here but trust me, the hiking is tricky with limestone outcroppings, sinkholes, and tree roots.