Pineland Croton with Bartram's Hairstreak and Florida Leafwing Butterflies - Kim Heise
Pineland Croton with Bartram's Hairstreak and Florida Leafwing Butterflies
Species or element:
Croton cascarilla, Strymon acis, Anaea troglodyta
The Pine Rocklands is a rare, globally imperiled habitat, with less than 2% of it's original range remaining in Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas. It is home to many endemic animals and plants that can live nowhere else. The Pineland Croton used to be a numerous plant, but now is rare dues to destruction and degradation of it's habitat, and so are the two butterflies that host on it. The Bartram's Scrub Hairstreak and Florida Leafwing are both endangered species.
Plants like this Croton grow out of the limestone outcrop of the Miami Rock Ridge, specializing to live in this nutrient-poor environment. Like many other plants here, they require frequent fire in the habitat every 3-5 years otherwise grasses and shrubs smother the tiny herbaceous plants by blocking out the sun.