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As the Everglades represents a convergence of multiple ecosystems and is located across a confluence of climate zones, it provides an opportunity to see tropical flora from the Caribbean alongside temperate North American plants. While on an Everglades tour, below are five plants to look for because of ecological importance, oddness, or iconic status.

Sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense)

The Everglades’ nickname, “River of Grass,” comes from the abundance of this plant. However, sawgrass is not a grass; it is a member of the sedge family. These plants support many ecosystem processes in the Everglades and are frequently utilized by alligators as a nest material.

Giant Airplant (Tillandsia utriculata)

This pineapple-crown-like bromeliad is an epiphyte, a non-parasitic plant that usually grows on other plants. A single giant airplant may hold up to 1 liter of water in its leaf axils, making it an important resource to many invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles in the area.

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

This is not a moss; it is a close relative of the above-mention giant airplant. Tangled masses of this epiphyte seen growing among branches of Everglade trees are actually colonies comprised of thousands of individual plants.

Soldierwood (Colubrina elliptica)

One may think this tree got its common name from patterns on its bark, which resemble modern military camouflage. However, the name goes back to the days of musket warfare. In dispersing seeds, the ripe fruit of this tree will explode, sounding like musket fire.

Cockspur (Pisonia aculeate)

This should be on your list of plants to look for, not only because it is interesting, but it is also a plant you don’t want to bump into. The tree-like stem of this massive vine is replete with long, sharp thorns adorned with more long, sharp thorns. Another name for this nightmarish plant is the catchbirdtree, as its sticky fruits will adhere to birds, entangling them and leading to their slow demise.

See More Plants on an Airboat Everglades Tour in Fort Lauderdale

For an exciting Everglades tour in Fort Lauderdale, contact Captain Bill, owner of Cypress Outdoor Adventures at 954-260-1096 today! We will take you around the Everglades for a close look at fascinating plants, as well as the diverse wildlife such as .