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THINGS TO DO IN JUPITER — DISCOVER 5 NATIVE PLANTS ON YOUR PADDLING ADVENTURE

a tree next to a body of water

a small boat in a large body of water

SEA GRASS — PRESERVING SEA LIFE

If manatees or sea turtles could talk, one of the first things they would tell you is to preserve sea grass.

Known as shoal grass and Johnson’s seagrass, the seagrass meadows provide refuge for juvenile fish and food for sea turtles and manatees. Like mangroves, sea grass protects the coastline by acting as a buffer against big waves eroding the shore.

Where to find a sea grass meadow? There’s one right off DuBois Park.

Take a tour with Jupiter Outdoor Center and JOC guides will tell you all about the ecosystem.

DID YOU KNOW?

Thank sea grass for the clarity of the water around a sea grass meadow. Like an aquatic vacuum cleaner, sea grass sucks up nutrients and bacteria, making it easy to spot sea turtles, manatees and other sealife.

 

a group of people riding skis on a body of water

MANGROVES — THEY LIVE ON THE EDGE

Gripping the shore with their spindly fingers, mangroves are friends to fish, humans and the environment.

Juvenile snapper, tarpon and jack use the tall trees in Jupiter Inlet‘s coastal, salty waters as hiding places from predators.

Us humans love mangroves, which are natural buffers against storm surges.

The environment partners with mangroves against global warming. Mangroves are great at absorbing and storing carbon.

DID YOU KNOW? 

Red, black and white are the types of mangroves in South Florida. You can tell them apart by the root structure and shape of their leaves.

 

a small boat in a body of water

BALD CYPRESS – A GIANT AMONG TREES

Fast growing and majestic, bald cypress trees along the Loxahatchee River in Riverbend Park average growing about 24 to 36 inches per year.

One of the few South Florida trees that change colors with the season, bald cypress leaves light up the forest with tan, cinnamon, and fiery orange leaves in the fall. The trees can get up to 70 feet tall.

DID YOU KNOW? 

The trees get the name “bald” cypress because they drop their leaves so early in the season.

 

a wooden bench sitting next to a tree

STRANGLER FIG — WITHOUT BIRDS, THEY WOULD BE IN TROUBLE

When the seeds of a strangler fig are dropped into the top of a cabbage palm or other tree by a bird, they germinate.

Inside the tree, dozens of tendril-like roots plummet towards the ground, attacking the tree.

Strangler figs are common around the first dam and other spots along the Wild & Scenic Loxahatchee River. 

DID YOU KNOW?

The story of the strangler fig doesn’t end pretty. The strangler fig roots wrap around the host tree’s roots. That cuts off food and water, killing the tree.

 

a close up of a flower

SWAMP LILLY — SWAMPY SHOWOFFS

Sweet smelling like a lilac and brash like a prom queen, the plants thrive in the still, nutrient-rich waters along the shady banks of the Loxahatchee River.

When a swamp lilly opens its petals, they droop backwards.

Purplish outgrowths that look like antlers emerge.

The look is somehow space-age and prehistoric at the same time.

Gulped by grasshoppers, they bloom year round in South Florida.

DID YOU KNOW? 

Swamp lillies are like Publix for insects. The sweet smelling flowers attract bees, wasps, beetles and flies.

Contact the local leader in Outdoor Adventure — Call 561-747-0063 or go to Jupiter Outdoor Center at jupiteroutdoorcenter.com

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