Fire Flag or Alligator Flag (Thalia ganiculata)
The Fire Flag or Alligator Flag plant are common sights in wetlands and swamps in Florida where they are a native species. Their roots or rhizomes are submersed in water and their stalks rise up and produce broad leaves which can be 2-3 feet long and several inches wide. Sometimes the Alligator Flag plant marks an area where an alligator makes it home. The alligator may use its large tail to dig a burrow in the swamp bottom which it uses as a resting place. This burrow or hole in the muddy bottom then creates a unique ecosystem that allows other plants, animals, fish and reptiles to share the depression or hole in the bottom of the swamp during dry season when the water levels drop. Visit the National Park Service website to see an illustration of this phenomenon. I photographed this plant along with many others at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Ft. Myers. There is a great boardwalk there which extends for miles which allows you to see the plants, birds and animals of a swamp and wetland.
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