Florida is noted for its variety of trees and other plant life. Some trees and plants are native to the state, but various species have been introduced from other areas of the world, particularly from the tropics. Some of these introduced species, such as melaleuca, cogon grass, and Brazilian pepper, have become serious pests in natural areas and agricultural lands. The northern half of the state lies in the great belt of evergreen forests that occupies much of the Coastal Plain south of Virginia. The southern part of the state, however, is one of the few areas of the United States where subtropical ferns, trees, and flowering plants flourish. The principal species of pine in Florida are longleaf, loblolly, and slash pines. Florida has some of the largest remaining longleaf pine forests, which once covered large areas of the southeastern Coastal Plain.
Palm trees are found throughout the state. The Sabal palm, or cabbage palmetto, is the state tree. Other palms include a number that are imported, such as coconut and date palms. The bald cypress, pond cypress, black gum, or black tupelo, and water oak grow well in swampy, poorly drained areas. The live oak, so named because unlike other oaks it retains its leaves throughout the year, grows throughout the state. Gray-green Spanish moss festoons trees, especially the live oak and cypress, in moist areas throughout Florida. Among the many unusual trees found in Florida, especially in the southern part of the state, are the strangler fig, mahogany, gumbo-limbo, and sausage. The red mangrove is the principal species in the dense thickets of plant life in the swampy lands along the coast.
Native flowering plants of note include the southern magnolia, Jamaica dogwood, Spanish bayonet, and rhododendron. Imported plants such as the hibiscus, royal poinciana, bougainvillea, gardenia, and camellia flourish in the warm southern region. The blossom of the orange tree is the state flower. "Florida" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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