HomespacerCorkscrew SwampspacerSearch Wild Things in PALMM Digital Library  

jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

If you are have difficulty playing the audio click here

Source: Corkscrew Swamp 4

Length of Segment: 00:01:12

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Along the boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in southwest Florida are woodland ponds that have been enlarged and deepened by alligators. During the dry season, such ponds are the only water left in the swamp and swamp creatures gather in them for survival. As water levels decrease in late winter, floating plants begin their annual cycle of renewal. The largest one of these in a gray-green rosette of seemingly corrugated leaves: water lettuce. The abundance of water lettuce in winter gave rise to the name of the ponds, 'lettuce lakes'. Water lettuce is not related to lettuce. It's in the same family as jack-in-the-pulpit. It's also not a native plant. Water lettuce has hitched rides to every continent except Europe and Antarctica, often carried in the ballast water of ships from South America. Water lettuce was first described from North America in 1765 by the colonial naturalists John and William Bartram. It has been here so long that scientists aren't sure where it originated, but most insects associated with water lettuce are from South America and the detectives of science thinks that's a pretty likely suspect for its home.

'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.

< Back to Corkscrew Swamp
GCU logoWGCU logoPALMM logospacerDigital Collections Center logoEverglades Digital Library