Featured Five Flora and Fauna

Rough Green Snake

These snakes are arboreal (living mostly in trees) and eat spiders and insects. They can be hard to see because they tend to blend in with foliage and stay still to avoid being seen. They are about 32 inches long but very, very small. They have pale underbellies, but the tops of them are a bright green.

Monarch

Monarch butterflies are bright orange with black stripes and flecks of white. They live 6-8 months and can only weigh up to 0.03 oz. Monarch butterflies migrate south during the winter. A female monarch may lay up to 500 eggs over a 2-5 week period. The hatched caterpillars eat exclusively milkweed, although there are several variants. The milkweed is very important to monarch butterflies because this diet makes them poisonous to many predators. After two weeks, the caterpillar creates a cocoon which it will hatch from in another week or two and become an adult monarch.

Strawberry Bush

Strawberry bushes are perennial meaning they last longer than one growing season.  They grow from 2 to 6 feet tall. The leaves are round at the base but develop into a point. However, the most noticeable feature are the bright red fruits growing on them. These fruits are enticing to many animals. This is necessary because the plant relies on animals to transport its seed so new plants can grow. Interesting things to note about this plant is its medicinal uses. The seed is a laxative and the bark is a diuretic. Lastly, the bark was used at one point as a treatment for dandruff although the effectiveness is anecdotal.

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods is a large, bright mushroom that grows on living and dead wood. Its name comes from its taste which some describe as lemony chicken. However, there are similar species that grow on eucalyptus and conifers that are poisonous so eating them from the wild without proper identification is not recommended. The color of the mushroom changes with age. It will go from vibrant yellow/orange to very washed out and finally white. These mushrooms also can become very large, anywhere from 2-20 inches in length. Some people consider it a pest since it can grow on living trees and harm them.

Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are extremely small and one species weighs about 1.95 grams and is the smallest known bird. They are the only vertebrate that can hover in the air due to them having powerful wing strokes on the up and down flap. They also very rapidly move their wings ( 225 times per minute during rest and 1200 times per minute when flying). They are required to migrate due to their constant need of food to sustain their style of flight. However, hummingbirds can go into torpor, which is a state with extremely low metabolic function and low body temperature. This allows them to conserve energy when needed.