Contact Us | Advertise With Us | Editions | Links 

Tampa Bay Online Edition

Last Updated: Aug 13, 2008 - 9:21:38 AM 

Front Page 
 
 Top Stories
 Features and Series
 Finding Florida
 Community In Focus
 Links Mentioned
 In Your Words
 
 News & Community
 Community News
 Business
 Where In South Hillsborough?
 Observing The Web
 In Uniform
 Obituaries
 Community In Retrospect
 
 Commentary
 
 Nation and World
 
 Columnists
 Fishtales
 Positive Talk
 Over Coffee
 Saturation Point
 View From the Road
 Wandering Florida
 Savvy Senior
 You, Me and Business




Observer Classifieds

Archives / Search 2003

Send a Letter to the Editor

Send a Press Release

Staff Directory
 

Saturation Point

Buddies
By Karey Burek
Aug 14, 2008 - 9:18:12 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
When I was young I had two types of friends. The first type of friend was genuinely nice all of the time, would go out of their way to share snacks, chalk and giggles. The other type was a bit sinister; this type of friend was only nice when grown-ups were around. As soon as the adults left the room, they turned into little bullies, punching and kicking, knocking the wind out of the friendship. I reminisce about this now because of a little fern that popped up next to one of my favorite plants. It was so cute, and I thought it so nice that my plant had a little buddy to hang out with. But this little fern turned out to be the sinister type of friend that strangled my plant when my back was turned.


 Fern peeking out of flower pot.

According to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), there are a lot of invasive plants that tend to choke out the native beauties in Florida. However, one that scares people and gets them shaking in their boots is the Old World climbing fern. On a flight over the Everglades, a member of the National Park Service described what he saw as a lime-green cancer that was spreading and ready to destroy an ecosystem!  This is some serious stuff.
The NPCA claims that the climbing fern is deadly, a villain in the plant world. It is dangerous because it actually creates a blanket over vegetation, literally choking the native species and not allowing them to regenerate. The stems can get as long as 80 feet and wrap themselves around native trees. It actually forms a dense mass up to two or three feet in thickness. The interesting thing about this is that fire uses the climbing fern as a type of trail up to the canopy of trees, helping to destroy native forests.
Unfortunately this type of fern has been accounted for in all counties south of Sarasota on both sides of Florida. As of now, this species ranges from central to south ­Florida. There are some breakthroughs in control in the shape of a winged savior—a moth. The use of a type of moth is being tested to see if it can eradicate the problem and help save our native habitats from being destroyed.
I don’t believe that the fern buddy I have in my potted plant is an Old World climbing fern, just a little seed that needed a home.  After careful consideration, the two plants were transferred to a larger pot and now live in horticulture harmony in my backyard.

© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

Top of Page

Saturation Point
Latest Headlines
The Heart
The Green Where It Can Be Seen
The White Stuff