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House 12-The Everglades

The Everglades House 12
In this exhibit, you'll find plants that are primarily native to the Florida Everglades, one of the largest wetlands in the world. A wetland is an area of land that is covered in shallow water with really wet soil. Swamps and marshes are also wetlands. The Everglades are a hot, humid subtropical environment that is home to many different plant and animal species. This immersive exhibit showcases the importance of maintaining wetlands, the natural water filtration system of the world.  

What can you find in this greenhouse?

Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides 
Despite its name, Spanish moss isn't really from Spain and it isn't really a type of moss! Spanish moss is actually a type of bromeliad and is originally from the southern United States, Central and South America. Unlike other plants, Spanish moss doesn't have roots or grow in the ground. It grows as an epiphyte on trees and other large plants. Spanish moss is able to absorb water and nutrients through its leaves from the air. 

Sea Grape, Coccoloba uvifera  
Sea grapes grow along the coasts of Florida and the Gulf Coast. They produce round green fruits that grow in clusters, similar to grapes. Sea grapes are very important to the coastal ecosystem. They help to protect the land from erosion and from tropical storms. Sea grapes also help protect sea turtle nesting areas. When sea turtles are born, they are attracted to the light of the moon and stars reflecting on the ocean. This is how baby sea turtles are able to find their way from their nests on beaches to the water. Sea grapes block the artificial light that comes from cities and confuses baby sea turtles. 

Red Mangrove, Rhizophora mangle
Red mangroves are one of over 50 species found throughout tropical and subtropical areas of the world. They are typically found in wetland regions and thrive in brackish water. Mangroves are easily recognized by their tangled roots that provide important shelter and food for many different animal species living in the Everglades.

Magnolia ‘Little Gem,’ Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’  
This magnolia is a cultivar of the southern magnolia, which is native throughout the Southeastern United States. It is known for its beautiful, white fragrant leaves. Magnolia leaves are dark green and are covered with a layer of wax, giving them an almost leathery texture. 

Vivarium and Cichlids 
Vivariums are microenvironments that house both plants and animals. Our vivarium is home to our family of cichlids. These small colorful fish live in shallow rocky areas of fresh water lakes and eat a variety of foods including algae, tiny crustaceans and plankton.