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Big Cypress National Preserve

| Roadside Park and Turner River Road | Concho Billy Trail and Other Photos | Clyde Butcher |

Take a stroll with us around the grounds surrounding the Big Cypress Gallery.

A photo gallery is available for this page. [Photos taken December, 1999 and April, 2000]

Clyde Butcher Photograhy Studio - Big Cypress

(Please note: this webpage does not constitute an endorsement by the USGS for Clyde Butcher.)
photo of pathway through trees
Looking down a flower-lined section of the trail behind Big Cypress Gallery.
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Clyde Butcher is a Florida landscape photographer whose awe-inspiring photography has helped to bring the natural areas of Florida to national attention. Located on the US 41 (Tamiami Trail), amid the lands that make up Big Cypress National Preserve, is the Big Cypress Gallery, which contains some of the photographic art of Clyde Butcher.

A short loop trail behind the Gallery invites those visiting to a "hands-on" experience with Big Cypress Swamp.

For more information, please visit the Big Cypress Gallery website. (Please note: this link does not constitute an endorsement by the USGS for this website).

Walk with us on the trail behind the Big Cypress Gallery or visit the swamp in front of the gallery.

Blooming bromeliad
photo of a bromeliad
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A bromeliad along the walking trail located behind Big Cypress Gallery.

Most bromeliads are epiphytes ("air plants"). They are self-sufficient and use other plants only for support. Bromeliads funnel rainfall and dew by spreading their leaves. This accumulated water provides a habitat for mosquitoes and other aquatic insects, small tree frogs, frogs, and lizards. Birds drink from these areas and search for insects, and snakes are attracted by the frogs and lizards.

Epiphytes and ferns, oh my!
Photo of a bromeliad
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(left) On the walking trail behind Big Cypress Gallery, epiphytes ("air plants") receive filtered sunlight through the canopy.

(right) A staghorn fern growing along the trunk of a cypress tree behind Big Cypress Gallery. The staghorn fern is an epiphyte ("air plant") that is native to Australia. Its common name comes from its fronds (leaves) that resemble deer antlers.

This unusual fern grows well in Florida as it requires warm temperatures and high humidity. Staghorns grow best in shaded areas.

photo of a staghorn fern
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Cypress trees and buttressed bases
photo of a tree-lined path
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(left) Cypress trees along the trail behind Big Cypress Gallery. Cypresses commonly have buttressed bases and cypress "knees" that protrude out of the water. The knees are thought to aid the roots by providing oxygen to the often-waterlogged cypress.


(right) A close-up of the buttressed bases of cypress trees. Cypress tree trunks are usually enlarged at the base and spread into buttresses.

photo of the buttressed base of a cypress tree
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IPIX - Nature Trail  
Navigate around this 360° view of the swamp surrounding the nature trail behind Big Cypress Gallery. Note the buttressed bases of the cypress trees, epiphytes ("air plants") and strangler figs.

While here they may look like vines, strangler figs are trees that begin growth from a dispersed seed. Strangler figs grow above the canopy of their host tree and send aerial roots down to the ground. In many cases, the strangler fig will engulf and kill the host tree.

  IPIX image of the Nature Trail behind Big Cypress Gallery
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  

Beautiful orchids
photo of a beautiful orchid
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sBeautiful orchids blooming by the swamp pond behind Big Cypress Gallery. Many of Florida's orchids, like the one seen here, are epiphytes ("air plants").

Orchids are incredibly diverse. Some have a single flower and others have many flowers. Some orchids are epiphytes and others grow in the soil. Some orchids have no smell, while others have spicy or offensive scents.

About 140 species of orchids are native to North America. More than 50 species of orchids are native to South Florida. Orchids are common in Florida's forests, however, due to orchid collecting, many orchids are listed as endangered.

Cypress reflections
Cypresses reflected in the ponded swamp waters behind Big Cypress Gallery. Clumps of bromeliads can be seen growing in the canopy.

Most bromeliads are epiphytes ("air plants"). They are self-sufficient and use other plants only for support.

photo of cypress tress reflected in the water
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photo of a purple iris
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Southern blue flag iris
Southern blue flag (Iris virginica) blooming in Big Cypress Swamp, in front of the Big Cypress Gallery. The large flowers of this plant are pale-blue to purple in color and its flattened leaves are long and narrow. Blue flag can grow to 4 feet tall.

The southern blue flag is commonly found in a variety of Florida's wetlands. It generally blooms in the spring.

Freshwater swamp
Looking over the ponded waters of Big Cypress Swamp, in front of the Big Cypress Gallery. As we stood before the cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, alligators silently moved through the shallow freshwater swamp. Freshwater swamps such as those at Big Cypress, usually contain water at least part of the year. Photo of pond
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Related SOFIA Information

Below we have listed science projects and publications for studies that are being conducted, or have been conducted, in the area of Big Cypress National Preserve. Follow these links to read about each project and to see project-related publications and data.

Science Projects:

Related Publications:

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /virtual_tour/bigcypress/indexclyde.html
Comments and suggestions? Contact:
Heather Henkel - Webmaster (hhenkel@usgs.gov)
Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:44 PM (HSH)