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Where does it start looking tropical for you?


philinsydney

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I can speak about the west coast of FL. It is "tropical" on all the barrier islands here. They start about at the Pasco county and Pinellas county border and head south to the florida keys. Banyans, cocos, adonidias and whatever tropical plants flourish on these islands. On the mainland on the west coast it starts to look tropical from south central tampa southward never more than 5 or so miles from the gulf of mexico and/or tampa bay and/or charlotte harbour etc. even as far south on the mainland as collier county. Really. You must be within 5 or so miles of a major body of water to maintain the tropical look and feel here on the west coast of FL. But even though it is a narrow band of tropical beauty here, it is still incredible - feels like the carribean really...

Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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I have noticed the same thing ruskinPalms. In observing cold events over the last few years, I often see it where the low temperatures in inland south Fl are colder than here in Orlando. The pictures of this year's cold damage from inland sw Florida look much worse than what I have observed here in Orlando (in town, not outlying). I even remember an instance last year where only one county in Florida had a frost advisory, Collier County. Do coastal islands from Pasco county north also reflect some tropical influence? As some have said, on the east coast it really doesn't have a tropical feel until Merritt Island(where the native tropical vegetation begins too). North of there, most of the tropical palms I've seen tend to look a bit rough, and maybe out of place. They are still worth a try though

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For folks on the Southeast coast,the West coast of Florida has a feel all it's own.I would call it laid back tropical.Really from St.Pete down to Naples, it has the same tropical feel together with tropical Palms and foliage.The serene nature of the Gulf compared to the Ocean contributes to this feel.The people also seem more laid back.Our preferred destination is Naples but Sanibel,Gasparilla and Anna Maria have the same feel.Thomas Edison's house and garden are perhaps the most spectacular in Florida.That Banyan is simply amazing.

I have always felt that to truly understand Florida,it is necessary to drive the Tamiami Trail from Naples to Miami.It would be a good idea to spend a full week in Everglades City.After that,head South to the Keys and you enter a whole new ballgame. To be Floridian, you have to get that Tropical Keys fix to revitalize as often as possible.If not,you risk pseudo-floridization.The West coast definitely has many spots that are very Keysey.Gasparilla comes immediately to mind.

Palmsorl, it is very difficult to judge interior South Florida by temperatures alone.Go to places like Immokolee(freeze warnings and all) and look at the tropical vegetation/Banyans and 100 year old Royals.Even though it is inland and far removed from any urban heat island,this is where lower latitude rules the day.Micoclimates exist on top of microclimates.One great example using temperature alone as a guide is illustrated by Feb.5,2009.West Palm Beach AP reported 33F.,Pahokee on Lake O reported 37F and 41F at Mid-Town Beach/PB.This brings the Gulfstream and Lake O effect into discussion but I would bet vegetation in all three of these points is virtually identical notwithstanding variances in recorded temperatures.As it relates to Pahokee,I am talking close to the Lake.

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What you look for is what is looking

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Here is my opinion on the matter:

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?s=...st&p=291529

I have been traveling all over Florida to get a good understanding of what grows where. Basically, like everyone has already said, tropical vegetation starts as you are heading south from about the Tampa Bay (or a little further north) southward hugging the coast. You would not think about defining a zone 10 inland until you are into Collier County (with the exception of some microclimates, such as Lake Placid). On the East coast the consensus is the Merritt Island/Cape Canaveral area and southward. You may be able to push it up to Daytona Beach, but it does not look good until you are in Central Brevard County. Zone 10 hugs the coast until you get about to the St. Lucie inlet, and then it extends to a wider swath of coastal Martin County and then tuns inland to circle underneath the heat that is retained by Lake Okeechobee.

The area that you are moving to, I have defined as a zone 10a, which means zone 10a plants should thrive there and you could probably get by with zone 10b without too much trouble.

Brevard County, Fl

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  • 1 month later...

Here on the West Coast, decreasing rainfall totals and rainy-season duration limit the greenery as you go south into warmer climates. Redwood forests peter out at the southern end of Big Sur, and thanks to the fog-drip they produce, they form the last ever-lush native habitat (with greenery on the forest floor, perennial watercourses, and closed canopy) on the coast until probably Nayarit, Mexico (per Cristobal). Coastal scrub / chaparral, with its fine, olive-gray foliage and low stature, as well as oak woodland dominate until the desert takes over fully somewhere in Baja. Surely there are spots protected under the redwoods up into Sonoma County that hardly ever get frost, but that forest doesn't look tropical. It looks lush, somewhat exotic, but more prehistoric. Conifers just don't read as tropical, despite the fact that many species, like Araucaria columnaris and Retrophyllum rospigliosii, are tropical. But open redwood forests mixed with huge evergreen ferns (some epiphytic), lauraceous bay trees, evergreen oaks, fleshy, big-leafed monocot perennials, and Aralia californica do read as exotic when you're in them.

One of the reasons Jubaea habitat photos are so compelling to me and other Californians is that they show a land almost indistinguishable from parts of California but for the huge palm trees, columnar cacti, and bromeliads in the scrub vegetation. It's also why I find Brahea edulis such a compelling species -- it grows naturally in its habitat amidst our familiar coastal California plants like Monterey pine, island live oak, toyon, and cypress.

The question of where things start looking tropical just doesn't apply in native habitats of California (even the Washingtonia groves in the desert contain cottonwoods and willows). There are cultivated environments, however, that definitely feel more tropical. Driving south on US 101 from central into southern California produces a powerful sense of the shift in climate at Point Conception when you round the bend out of Gaviota Pass and hit the ocean again. No longer on the west, now the sea is located to the south, and you begin to see allees of Ficus macrophylla planted on ranch roads, avocado groves, and a profusion of tall Washingtonia robusta. Then you approach Santa Barbara and begin to see plenty of Archontophoenix, our most-tropical-looking common palm. That passage marks a tropical-feeling frontier due to cultivation. It's partly what makes Santa Barbara so enchanting.

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Jason Dewees

Inner Sunset District

San Francisco, California

Sunset zone 17

USDA zone 10a

21 inches / 530mm annual rainfall, mostly October to April

Humidity averages 60 to 85 percent year-round.

Summer: 67F/55F | 19C/12C

Winter: 56F/44F | 13C/6C

40-year extremes: 96F/26F | 35.5C/-3.8C

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Jason, What a spectacular description. My personal favorite drive is Pac 1 from San Francisico down to Carmel By the Sea. It is so different than anything on the East Coast. Artichokes and strawberries all the way down to the Ocean! The only way I can describe the surrounding vegetation is mystical.

Big change when you hit Santa Barbara. Palms, Ficus and that gigantic Moreton Fig. A little further down and all sorts of Pan-tropical. Would like to do from San Diego down to the tip of the Gulf of California. I bet that is incredible.

None of that is meant to take away fom Sonoma. We did not even talk Desert!

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What you look for is what is looking

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the first examples of the baja desert vegetations you find in the most south part of los angeles county in california. south of the bay of san diego, these vegatations are much more common and predominate to cabo san lucas.

the sonora desert vegetations predominate by all the east coast of the sea of cortez and south to mazatlan 23 north. south of mazatlan the vegetations change very fast to more weter tropical by acaponeta, sinaloa on the border of nayarit state 120 kilometers south of mazatlan. there you see first attaleas.

you can see the change almost every kilometer you go south from mazatlan it is very fast change. in one hour and half driving it changes from desert to wet-dry tropical.

Edited by Cristóbal

TEMP. JAN. 21/10 C (69/50 F), AUG. 29/20 C (84/68 F). COASTAL DESERT, MOST DAYS MILD OR WARM, SUNNY AND DRY. YEARLY PRECIPITATION: 210 MM (8.2 INCHES). ZONE 11 NO FREEZES CLOSE TO THE OCEAN.

5845d02ceb988_3-copia.jpg.447ccc2a7cc4c6

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About the name of this thread: "Where does it start looking tropical for you?" - - - I find it interesting that for the overwhelming majority of Forum members, this is a question of north vs. south (and obviously different depending on whether you live north or south of the equator). Here on the Big Island, it doesn't involve north and south but up or down, as in what elevation you're at. Once you get up above 3,000 ft/900 m. (approx)., then it no longer looks tropical here on the island. And when you drive the Saddle Road from Hilo to Kona, which will take you up to over 6,000 ft elevation between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa then there's very little vegetation. Some tough trees and shrubs, but in general it's a pretty barren look. That's probably more because of lack of rainfall than low temperatures though. Coming from the Kona side and descending into the Hilo area is a very quick and pretty dramatic experience, with the vegetation going from almost non-existent to lush and tropical in 20-25 minutes or so.

Leilani Estates, 25 mls/40 km south of Hilo, Big Island of Hawai'i. Elevation 880 ft/270 m. Average rainfall 140 inches/3550 mm

 

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Here in Brazil where most everywhere is tropical people seek out places that do not look tropical. The city of Sao Paulo which is at 800 meters above sea level sits with the ocean about 50 kms in a straight line to one direction and the mountains of the Mantiqueira range which run along the western side of the Parnaiba do Sul River towards Rio de Janeiro on the other side. The coast is basically the same as Rio with beautiful tropical beaches and mountains covered with the for the most part some of the last remnants of the Atlantic Coast rainforest. The opposite of this tropical environment is found some 80 kms from the capital of Sao Paulo at the city of Campos de Jordão. Campos is about 1,600 meters above sea level and when you enter the city it seems like you have been transported to Switzerland. In fact the winter festival there is a big event where people go to enjoy near freezing temperatures. This was one of my favorite areas to hang out when I lived in Sao Paulo. In fact I frequently went both directions, to the tropical beaches, frequently to hunt bromeliads. And to Campos to eat trout and drink wine on a cool evening. Here is a link has a good slide show of the winter festival of 2008 in Campos do Jordão,(click on ver slide show) Campos do Jordão Winter Festival 2008. Like Bo points out in the tropics it is more a matter of altitude than latitude that determines what looks tropical.

dk

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Don Kittelson

 

LIFE ON THE RIO NEGRO

03° 06' 07'' South 60° 01' 30'' West

Altitude 92 Meters / 308 feet above sea level

1,500 kms / 932 miles to the mouth of the Amazon River

 

Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil - A Cidade da Floresta

Where the world´s largest Tropical Rainforest embraces the Greatest Rivers in the World. .

82331.gif

 

Click here to visit Amazonas

amazonas2.jpg

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Don, That Slide Show was great. Would never have believed it could be so close to Sao Paulo.

What you look for is what is looking

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is W Pasco, we sneak "tropical" in from 2 miles from the coast, and through majorly sheltered areas. My front yard, with huge Queens and Slash Pines, supports crotons, strelitza nicolai at 30 ft, fruting Mango, and a 30'+ tRAINGLE where my back yard, much more open, cannot. However, the freezes are not as penetrating in New Port Richey compared to Hudson/Land O lakes where Queen Palms were damaged this winter, Norfolk Island Pines showed burn, and even Chinese Fans showed damage. The school I teach at is in Hudson and their Philo selloums were completely burnt while mine were untouched. My Fishtain was only burnt on the outer edges, in Hudson what they did have on campus is barely coming back. It was 19F there, 28F at my house. Then, down to Dunedin it swings REALLY tropical. Greg enjoying dewpoints in the 60's after over 6" of May rains!

Begonias are my thing. I've been growing and selling them for three decades, nearly two in Tampa Bay. NPR is an bhour N of St Pete, coast

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Here in Brazil where most everywhere is tropical people seek out places that do not look tropical. The city of Sao Paulo which is at 800 meters above sea level sits with the ocean about 50 kms in a straight line to one direction and the mountains of the Mantiqueira range which run along the western side of the Parnaiba do Sul River towards Rio de Janeiro on the other side. The coast is basically the same as Rio with beautiful tropical beaches and mountains covered with the for the most part some of the last remnants of the Atlantic Coast rainforest. The opposite of this tropical environment is found some 80 kms from the capital of Sao Paulo at the city of Campos de Jordão. Campos is about 1,600 meters above sea level and when you enter the city it seems like you have been transported to Switzerland. In fact the winter festival there is a big event where people go to enjoy near freezing temperatures. This was one of my favorite areas to hang out when I lived in Sao Paulo. In fact I frequently went both directions, to the tropical beaches, frequently to hunt bromeliads. And to Campos to eat trout and drink wine on a cool evening. Here is a link has a good slide show of the winter festival of 2008 in Campos do Jordão,(click on ver slide show) Campos do Jordão Winter Festival 2008. Like Bo points out in the tropics it is more a matter of altitude than latitude that determines what looks tropical.

dk

Certainly makes yu realize that the tropics are more than Coconut lined beaches.

I never thought that pine trees (sp. Pinus) could be a tropical species. However, after doing some limited checking, it seems that pine trees inhabit a lot of the tropics from Cuba to the S. Pacific. never thought of them as being tropical.

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Coastal San Diego, California

Z10b

Dry summer subtropical/Mediterranean

warm summer/mild winter

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Pine trees are one of the main species used in plantation forests in Brazil. And, they grow at least twice as fast as in the southeastern USA. The native Araucaria angustifolia which is found in the forests of southeast and southern Brazil is a beautiful tree.

dk

Don Kittelson

 

LIFE ON THE RIO NEGRO

03° 06' 07'' South 60° 01' 30'' West

Altitude 92 Meters / 308 feet above sea level

1,500 kms / 932 miles to the mouth of the Amazon River

 

Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil - A Cidade da Floresta

Where the world´s largest Tropical Rainforest embraces the Greatest Rivers in the World. .

82331.gif

 

Click here to visit Amazonas

amazonas2.jpg

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I made a thread asking if there was a noticable difference in vegetation within South Florida, from central coastal Palm Beach Country down to coastal Miami-Dade county. I haven't been down there yet. There is roughly 100 miles of Florida mainland south of WPB down to the very southern tip. Does the tropical vegetation get noticably more tropical, more variety down there, compared to WPB which is almost the northern end of South Florida ?

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Suburban, Unless you are extreme West in Palm Beach County, you will not notice huge changes until you hit the Keys. As you trek down you will notice a greater abundance of out of the ordinary palms. It is not that they cannot be grown here, it just seems more people grow. When you hit Miami and the overpasses count the number of ficus growing out of the cracks in the Highway. That does not happen in Palm Beach County. The Keys are in a class all their own but do yourself a favor and call Ken Johnson for a tour of his Redland Palm Plantation. It is out of this world. Buy from him and plant up here.

What you look for is what is looking

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The Keys are in a class all their own but do yourself a favor and call Ken Johnson for a tour of his Redland Palm Plantation. It is out of this world. Buy from him and plant up here.

The Keys are a zone all their own. Hey, that rhymes.

Coastal San Diego, California

Z10b

Dry summer subtropical/Mediterranean

warm summer/mild winter

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