One of my favorite photography projects has been documenting rare and endangered plants on Florida’s Lake Wales sand ridge for Archbold Biological Station. Initially, I thought this was out of my wheelhouse, since my main experience has been the macrophotography of insects. I must say, though, this has been one of the most fulfilling projects I have done.
When I first met with the biologists at Archbold, they talked about the endangered species of plants on the Lake Wales sand ridge and that some of these plants grew nowhere else in the world. At the time, it did not strike me just how rare. Recently I photographed Dicerandra christmanii, Garrett’s Mint or sometimes called Lake Wales Balm. It is found only on the Highlands County sand ridge in Florida There it grows in only four locations in an area about two by four miles. And yes, it is endangered, critically imperiled due to loss of habitat.
Another plant I photographed earlier this year is Crotalaria avonensis, sometimes called Avon Park rabbit-bells. It is known to grow in three locations near Avon Park, Florida. Estimates are that only a few hundred plants exist. Through the conservation efforts of Archbold, some habitat is being restored attempts are being made to propagate these plants. Without those conservation efforts the beauty of these plants might be lost forever.