FNPS Promotes

the Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration of the Native Plants and Native Plant Communities of Florida.

We provide scientifically sound information on native plants, their habitats, the wildlife that depends on them, and their management and culture

Conference photographs Vince Lamb, Donna Bollenbach and Shirley Denton


Register now for the August meeting

Posted June 12, 2016

Registration is now open for our in-person August 13th meeting of the Council of Chapters and Board of Directors at the Florida FFA Leadership Training Center in Haines City.  We must receive your registration form by Wednesday, July 6, 2016.  Please send in the registration form,…

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Landscaping and Mosquitoes

Posted June 24, 2016

Florida is home to multiple species of mosquitoes.  Many of them are ecologically important as food for other wildlife, especially some smaller birds, fish, amphibians, and other insects.   But, some mosquitoes are associated with major diseases.  Two species found in Florida Aedes aegypti and Ae.…

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Policy Guide

Posted May 26, 2016

Our lobbyist Sue Mullins and Policy Chair Eugene Kelly made a wonderful presentation at the conference on becoming a Citizen Lobbyist. Being an advocate for Good Environmental Policy supports the mission of the Florida Native Plant Society. The presentation explains the realities of lawmaking,defines lobbying, and explains how you can become a Citizen Lobbyist. It compares the various ways to contact your legislatures and why some are more effective than others. We can all become Citizen lobbyist, its simple, its important, and it is the right thing to do!

Click to View Presentation

Letter to City of Port St. Lucie

Posted May 23, 2016

FNPS submitted a letter to the City of Port St. Lucie regarding the decision of the City to seek to permit the Crosstown Parkway Extension through existing conservation lands.   FNPS regrets the City's decision and expresses support for those taking legal action against the permit approval.  A copy of the FNPS letter can be downloaded here.

2016 Conference

Posted May 23, 2016

Thanks to all who helped with this very successful conference!

Vince Lamb, official FNPS 2016 conference photographer, and others have been buisily uploading photos to our Flickr site.  Check them out!  

Click here

If you have photos to share, please send them to webteam@fnps.org.  Please make sure we know who you are so that we can give you appropriate credit!  Thanks in advance.

Latest from the Blog


by Donna Bollenbach

The tiny moss has been the theme of many a gifted poet; and even the despised mushroom has called forth classic works in its praise. But the Lichens, which stain every rock, and clothe every tree, which form:

                         Nature’s livery o’er the globe
Where’er her wonders range
Have been almost universally neglected, nay despised.
Lauder Lindsay

Christmas Lichen on a fallen tree, Florida. 


Imagine our continent after the last ice age: Glaciers cut deep gorges in the land and miles of granite boulders, silt and the bones cover the hills and plains of North America. Life has all but disappeared, but there is hope for new life in a simple living entity that is neither plant nor animal, the lichens.

Lichens on a rock in Yellowstone National Park. 

Lichens, a partnership of a fungus and an alga, are able to survive in the most extreme temperatures. The lichens that partner with cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, produce their own nitrogen, so they are able to grow on nitrogen-poor substrates. They form colonies on the surface of the rocks and bare soil. The chemicals in these lichens are capable of penetrating and breaking down the rock. As the lichens die the debris becomes thicker and nitrogen rich. Mosses began to grow. The decay of the mosses and lichens make the soil even richer, allowing other vegetation to take hold and a new habitat evolves.

For this reason, lichens and mosses are considered pioneers of succession. Today, they are still the primary plant-like species of the deserts and tundra where they thrive in conditions that are inhospitable to most other plants. They are also an important source of food for animals in those extreme climates where other vegetation is scarce.

Fruiticose lichen in the Florida Scrub


– from the Greek word tapis for carpet; a fabric with a woven design resembling tapestry, varied entwined and intricate (i.e. the tapestry of life).

Lichen, a living organism that is neither plant nor animal, is one of nature’s true tapestries.  A fungus and a suitable green alga or cyanobacteria (blue-green alga), intricately woven together in a symbiotic union, lichens carpet trees, rocks, soil and other substrates with their rich colors and textures.

There are over 14,000 species of lichen living in nearly every habitat in the world. In addition to rocks, lichen grows on an array of natural and manmade substrates, including bark, stone, wood, soil, leaves, moss, bone, human artifacts and even some living creatures. Unlike the pioneer lichens that break down rocks, lichens found on living substrates are not parasitic, they simply use the host as a place to live.


Yet lovely was its pleasant shade;
Lovely the trunk will moss inlaid;
Lovely the long-haired lichens grey;
Lovely its pride and its decay.
Mary Russell Mitford

Crustose Lichen on a Palm Tree

The task of defining and classifying lichens is a daunting one for scientist. The international Association for Lichenology defines lichen as “an association of a fungus and photosynthetic symbiont resulting in a stable vegetative body having a specific structure.” Noted Lichenologist, Trevor Goward, went further to describe lichen as “fungi that have discovered agriculture.”

Scientifically, lichens are classified by one of four general growth forms: Foliose (leafy, lobed and most often with an upper and lower cortex), Fruiticose (hairy, tubular, multi-branching strands or lacey balls with a single cortex), Crustose (crusty, flat patches that can be somewhat smooth or thick and bumpy) and Squamulose (an intermediate between the Crustose and Foliose, with thick, scaly shingles).

A combination of lichen forms and mosses on tree bark.

While these scientific terms do suggest the general shape of the lichen classes, they do little justice to the lichen’s true beauty.

The Foliose lichens have a leaf-like form. They have many lobes., often curling slightly inward and layered on top of each other.

Foliose lichens on a tree. 

The Fruticose lichens are highly branched. They can be thin and stringy, or round, lacy and soft in appearance. Some of the Fruticose lichens found in the scrub look like puffy greenish gray clouds.

Fruiticose lichens, or powder puff lichens in the Florida Scrub. 

The Crustose lichens are flat, often circular patches, tightly adhered to their substrate. Colorful fruiting bodies adorn their cortex. 

Crustose, or flame lichen growing on a rock. 

While many lichens are white to greenish-grey to brown, many are bright red, yellow or orange. Even a green or gray lichen may be adorned with a bright red fruiting body. Some of the fruiting bodies are mere dots, while others are more like little mushrooms. The combination of color and texture in lichens are as varied as the substrates they live on, and have given many a painter or photographer a reason to pause and admire nature's finest fabric. 

Foliose lichen (British soldiers) with an Earth Star (fungus) in the center. 

And these are all the reasons I Love Lichens!

Donna Bollenbach

If you also love Lichens, check out this great book: "Lichens of North America" by Brodo, Sharnoff & Sharnoff.  It is rather expensive, but it is nearly 800 pages of fascinating information and beautiful color images.

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