WHAT FLORIDA NATIVE PLANT IS BLOOMING TODAY?: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)
There are dozens of native oaks in Florida. This particular oak was planted by a bird and has grown quickly and with a beautiful pyramid shape. It loses it leaves slowly in January as the new leaves appear so the tree is never completely bare. The portion hanging down is a catkin and it the male flower of the tree.
larval host: Horaces Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) and White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album)
Birds flock to this tree. One day this week I saw blue jay, titmouse, yellow rumped warbler, catbird, hairy woodpecker, red bellied woodpecker, mockingbird, grackle all with just 15 minutes of observation. I’ve had nesting doves and mockingbirds use it over the years.
Native American Ethnobotany for this genus: http://herb.umd.umich.edu/herb/search.pl?searchstring=Quercus+laurifolia
Where does it grow in Florida? http://www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3901