Saturday, May 22, 2010

Florida privet

Florida privet, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Smith.

This multi-branched, fine-leaved shrub is fruiting right now in Southwest Florida. the berries are a deep indigo blue with a dull satin sheen to them. I've seen many different types of birds in these shrubs, but haven't observed any species in particular eating the berries.

A flowering Florida privet seems to attract a lot of insects, which also attracts the birds, especially the small warblers. I think it also provides a welcome intermediate cover between the ground and the taller trees.

One thing I didn't show here in my close-up study of the leaves, gall, and berries is the delightful arching droop the larger branches have taken. The older shrubs have a willow-like grace to them, but with more branching.

You can click on the image above to view it larger on my Flickr photostream.