5x7, acrylic on board
$150 Framed and shipped
Everglades prairies are wide swaths of open, treeless land covered by sawgrass and other wetlands plants. The freshwater prairies are called marl prairies. Marl is rich mud or mudstone over the limestone, holds in moisture and is wet enough for some plants to survive through the driest season.
The sawgrass is shorter here than in the sloughs, and the land will also allow a lantana or swamp lily to flourish. Alligators live on these open prairies, and the paths they make through the prairies are used by other animals like the deer and the panther.
The sawgrass that covers the prairies is not a "true" grass, but actually a member of the sedge family, characterized by sharp teeth along the edges of each blade. The grasses were once over nine feet tall south of Lake Okeechobee in areas of rich soil now covered by sugar cane production. In drier areas the grass is shorter.
Fires are a natural part of the cycle of the prairie and play an important role in sawgrass habitat. Fires limit the invasion of woody vegetation that would eventually change the marsh, but the wet roots of the sawgrass protect it from the flames even though the parts of them above the ground may burn.
We're just starting the dry season here in south Florida, and will begin to see changes in the patterns of plant and animal life as the dramatic storms of our wet season decrease and fire danger increases.