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Big Cypress National Preserve

| Roadside Park and Turner River Road | Concho Billy Trail and Other Photos | Clyde Butcher |

Come along and see some of the plants and animals found along the Concho Billy Trail and other areas of Big Cypress National Preserve.

A photo gallery is available for this page. [Photos taken December, 1999, April, 2000, and September, 2010, unless otherwise noted]

Concho Billy Trail

IPIX - Concho Billy Trail  
Navigate around this 360° view of cypress trees and common reeds (Phragmites) along Concho Billy Trail. Cypress trees commonly have buttressed bases and cypress "knees". The knees are thought to aid the roots by providing oxygen to the often-waterlogged cypress. Common reed is a large grass plant of Florida. It can grow to 16-feet tall and its leaves can grow to 2-feet long. Common reed can be found in deep standing waters or in moist soils.   IPIX image of Concho Billy Trail
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  

White Peacock Butterfly          Prairie Milkweed
photo of a white butterfly
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White peacock (Anartia jatrophae) butterfly. White peacocks are found throughout the year in South Florida. They are mostly white with brown and orange margins and have small round eyespots on their wings. These small-sized (2 - 2.75-inches) butterflies are commonly seen in Florida's wet, open areas. photo of the prairie milkweed
Prairie milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata) in bloom.
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Beach Sunflower
photo of the beach sunflower
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Beach sunflower (Helianthus debilis) and southern fleabane (Erigeron quercifolius) in bloom along the edge of the Concho Billy Trail.

Native to Florida, the beach sunflower is commonly found on disturbed lands and throughout Florida. This sunflower generally blooms year-round.

The white flowers of southern fleabane are made up of hundreds of fine rays ("petals"). This flower is commonly found in old fields and disturbed lands throughout Florida and generally blooms year-round.

Thistle town
A beetle visits this budding and blooming thistle (Cirsium horridulum) along the edge of the Concho Billy Trail. Leaves of this native plant are spiny and flowers can range in color from cream or yellow to pink or rose. This thistle is commonly found in pastures, pinelands and disturbed lands throughout Florida and generally blooms in all but the winter months. photo of a bug on a blooming thistle
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Bald Cypress Rock Outcrops
photo of a bald cypress
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A buttressed base supports this tall bald cypress located along the Concho Billy Trail. Bald cypresses were given the name "bald" because the trees shed their needles during the winter.         photo of a rock outcrops
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Rock outcroppings in the prairie north of Concho Billy Trail. The soils of this prairie support small cypress trees and a sparse understory. Areas with thicker layers of peat support larger cypress trees.

Other Photos from Big Cypress

photo of an alligator catching some rays
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photo of an alligator along water's edge
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(left) An alligator sunning itself along the banks of a canal, north of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and just west of the Big Cypress National Preserve Visitor Center. Alligators are commonly seen in freshwater areas throughout Florida and throughout the Everglades.

(right) An alligator along water's edge.

Alligators play an important role in Everglades ecology. Their movement through swamps and marshes opens channels for other aquatic animals to use. Also, in the winter’s dry season, alligators find depressions in the landscape and clear out the mud and vegetation with their feet and snout. These "gator holes" form small ponds, which serve as a moist habitat for the alligators as well as other small critters such as fish, turtles, snails, snakes and frogs. Waterbirds and mammals visit these ponds for food and drink.

Dahoon Holly
A short walk along a trail north of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and just west of the Big Cypress National Preserve Visitor Center, brought us by this ladybug resting on the leaves of a flowering dahoon holly. Dahoon hollies are small trees that can grow to heights of 30 feet. They have white flowers that have 4 rounded petals and are normally seen at the base of new leaves. Male and female flowers occur on different trees.

Female trees have fruits in the winter. Fruits are a bright red, but can be orange or yellow. Many different songbirds like to eat these fruits.

The dahoon holly is native to Florida and is usually found in wet areas, like the freshwater marl prairie here. Freshwater marl prairie is a type of marsh that is flooded about 3 to 7 months a year.

Photo of dahoon holly
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Lantana Shrub
photo of the lantana shrub
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While lantana shrubs are a native of sandy pinelands of Florida, this sparsely flowering lantana is growing in the freshwater marl prairie on a trail north of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and just west of the Big Cypress Visitor Center. Flower colors, which normally vary from cream to yellow or pink, change to scarlet or orange like the flowers seen here.

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
photo of a Gulf Fritillary butterfly
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Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanilla) butterfly. The Gulf Fritillary is found throughout the year in South Florida. They are bright orange with black markings and have 3 black-encircled white dots on the anterior wing's leading edge.

"Wading" around for something to happen?
A mixed group of wading birds rest in and around the cypress trees of Big Cypress National Preserve, north of US 41 (Tamiami Trail), by Monroe Station Loop Road. photo of wading birds
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Panoramic of Tree Islands
panoramic photo of Tree Islands
Among the sawgrass, you'll see tiny tree islands popping out. [larger image]

Tree-islands (hammocks) dot the sawgrass landscape located north of US 41 (Tamiami Trail), about 1/2-mile east of State Road 29. Hammocks are stands of hardwood trees that can grow on natural rises of only a few inches in the land. Unlike the sawgrass prairies, hammocks rarely flood because of their slight elevation.

Big Cypress National Preserve Sampling Site Photos
The following photographs show an evapotranspiration gaging station and some of the equipment used to collect data. Photographs were taken from a "Carbon Cycling in a Big Cypress National Preserve Marsh" presentation given by Barclay Shoemaker, Jordan Barr, Christian Lopez, and Vic Engel at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration 2010 Conference. Posted here with permission. (dates photos taken unknown)
photograph of a scientist atop a sampling tower
photograph of dwarf cypress tower.
Photo taken by Patrick Lynch (SFWMD)
photograph of Hensen marsh site.
Photo taken by Patrick Lynch (SFWMD)
Scientist atop sampling tower. [larger image] Dwarf Cypress 55' tower. Measures ET. [larger image] Hensen Marsh site. Measures ET and CO2. [larger image]
photograph of pine upland tower.
Photo taken by Patrick Lynch (SFWMD)
photograph of cypress swamp tower.
Photo taken by Patrick Lynch (SFWMD)
photograph of scientists working atop tower.
Pine upland 120' tower. Measures ET. [larger image] Cypress Swamp 120' tower. Measures ET. [larger image] Scientists working atop tower. [larger image]

Related SOFIA Information

Below we have listed science projects and publications for studies that are being conducted, or have been conducted, in the area of Big Cypress National Preserve. Follow these links to read about each project and to see project-related publications and data.

Science Projects:

Related Publications:



U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /virtual_tour/bigcypress/indexconcho.html
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Heather Henkel - Webmaster (hhenkel@usgs.gov)
Last updated: October 10, 2014 @ 09:17 AM (HSH)