Home Archived October 29, 2018
Link to USGS home page
South Florida Ecosystem History Project

Home - South Florida Ecosystem History Website

    Biscayne Bay
    Florida Bay
    Referenced Data
    Salinity Maps
Kid's Corner
    Related Links

Kid's Corner Home Kid's Corner Home | Project Information | Frequently Asked Questions | Photos | Dictionary | Trivia

Photo Gallery

Plants and Landscape of Southern Florida

[Click on any of these Photo Gallery pictures to see a larger version.]

Southern Florida is a spectacular place, filled with beautiful and unique environments for animals to live in. Not only are they interesting places for scientists to work, but they are part of our country's protected lands.

Here are some of the great views from south Florida and a number of the interesting plants that grow there.

Opal the Octopus

Mangroves are a kind of tree that lives in or around the water. They are a major part of the south Florida ecosystem. Mangrove seeds float in the water until they reach soft sediment, where they take root.

At right are little mangrove trees that are growing in the water.

photo of little mangrove trees
photo of mangrove roots
photo of mangrove roots

As you can see (at left and above), mangrove roots are long. They reach deep into the mud to keep the trees from washing away.

As the trees grow more dense, mud that gets washed onto them from the water gets stuck around their roots. Slowly the mangroves grow into small islands with solid ground that you can walk on. These islands are called 'keys'.
photo of mud around mangrove roots
dense floor of key island
photo of mangrove key
key island

photo of spiny plants
The Florida Everglades has a variety of different plants. Some of these plants grow about as tall (or taller) than people and some can grow in or around areas of water.

One kind of plant, called sawgrass, has very sharp edges along the blades of their leaves. The blades are often sharp enough to cut people, and scientists who work in sawgrass often have to wear protective clothing and gloves.

photo of scientists working in the sawgrass
scientists in sawgrass

Underwater Vegetation

A number of different kinds of plants and algae live completely under the surface of the water. Like surface plants, these plants and algae often need light in order to grow and stay alive, so many of them only live in very shallow water or water that is very clear, so that light reaches them.

Plants and algae that live under the water are an important part of the ecosystem. Often animals live in or on the vegetation because it hides them from other animals.

photo of mudflats
photo of seagrasses photo of seagrass bed photo of seagrasses

Man-Made Scenery
aerial photo of a canal This is a photograph of a canal that has been dug by man in order to move water from once place to another. Canals are important for farmers and cities and they also affect which way the water will travel when it rains in south Florida.


One of the most amazing things about south Florida is the sunsets. People come from all over the world to sit and watch the Florida sunsets. They are often used in photographs and postcards.

Our friend Tom Scott from the Florida Geological Survey is particularly good at capturing the best sunsets. Here are a few of his photographs.

photo of an orange sky at sunset photo of a sunset over water
photo of a sunset over water
photo of a sunset seen through tree branches

Back to main photo gallery page
Opal the Octopus

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /flaecohist/kidscorner/plants.html
Comments and suggestions? Contact:
Heather Henkel - Webmaster (hhenkel@usgs.gov)
Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:42 PM (KP)