Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 080715 Contents THE RIVER - AUGUST 7, 2015
by Gerri Reaves
taccada) has the
tions of being
listed as a cat-
species by the
Pest Plant Coun-
and as a noxious
weed by the state
This native of
the Indian and
region is said to
have been intro-
duced to Florida
in the mid-1970s
age” shows that it
has altered native
ties by “displacing
changing community structures or ecological functions,
or hybridizing with natives,” as the FLEPPC defines a
Specifically, beach naupaka threatens the native
inkberry (Scaevola plumieri), which is now listed as
threatened in the state, as well as sea lavender (Argusia
gnaphalodes), listed as endangered in the state.
Inkberry is particularly valuable in stabilizing sand
dunes and providing bird habitat. Unfortunately, the larg-
er and faster-growing invasive plant easily displaces it.
Exacerbating the problem is the difficulty of telling the
two species apart. Thus, the invader is often mistakenly
sold as the native.
Among the similarities are the tubular flowers.
The five lobes create a fan shape with the petals par-
tially fused at the base. This inspires another of beach
naupaka’s common names, Hawaiian half-flower.
However, there are several distinguishing characteris-
tics, mainly beach naupaka’s white fruit versus inkberry’s
Another difference is overall size. The invasive species
is larger, bushier and can reach 16 feet in height, while
the native usually reaches only four or five feet high.
Also, beach naupaka’s leaves are longer – up to eight
inches long and bunching at the branch tips – whereas
inkberry’s spatulate leaves are two to four inches long.
If you’re shopping for inkberry, purchase it from a
reputable native nursery to be sure you don’t end up tak-
ing an invader home by mistake.
Sources: floridata.com, and ifas.ufl.edu.
Plant Smart explores the diverse flora of South
Invasive beach naupaka threatens na-
tive species such as inkberry and sea
photos by Gerri Reaves
The similarity of beach naupaka’s “half-flowers” to those of
inkberry can cause misidentification
The invader’s white fruit distinguishes it from inkberry, which
produces dark fruit
by Cynthia A.
Berry C. Wil-
to 1976) was
something of a leg-
end as a fisherman
in the waters off
Fort Myers in the
1950s and early
for you here are
chapters from his unfinished Fisher-
man’s Paradise, an account of his fish-
ing adventures that are often hilarious
and always instructional. It is presented
by Williams’ daughter, Cynthia Wil-
liams, a freelance writer and editor
living in Bokeelia on Pine Island.
Chapter XII Part III
Berry and a friend are fishing for tri-
pletail at the #3 marker in San Carlos
Bay. “Mousie” has baited his hook with
a pinfish; Berry’s bait is a live shrimp.
Mousie’s pinfish had hardly hit the
water before – Whonk! – something hit
“God a’ mighty!” yelled Mousie, as
he arched his spinning rod high above
his head and started cranking furiously.
“What in the world is that? It ain’t any
“Must be a tripletail. Didn’t I tell you
they hit like a bat outa hell?”
By this time, I’d reeled in my line
and was bending over the side of the
boat, net in hand, waiting for Mousie to
maneuver the fish close enough for me
to sack it up. In a few moments, we were
both admiring an angry tripletail that
would hit the scales at seven pounds.
“Whew,” Mousie sighed. “Why didn’t
you warn me about these fish, Berry?”
“Heck and Mariah! I told you they
were whang doodles.”
We stood there grinning at each other,
standard procedure for happy fishermen.
“Berry, put one of those pinfish on
your line and let’s get into production.”
I complied, and within an hour we’d
racked up seven beauties. That night, I
dressed out a tripletail and found they
are equally as good eating as catching.
The meat is fine-textured, firm and white,
almost as tasty as flounder.
I later learned that tripletails will hit on
yellow bucktails as well as live bait, but
if you want action in a hurry, just put in
a flicking shrimp or a small pin. They’ll
certainly knock on your door, and take
doorknob and all if you’re not set for a
Since becoming acquainted with the
species, I’ve heard tales about them that
make my experiences with them pale by
comparison. Charter boat captains have
told me about catching ones that run up
to 25 pounds. Almost anyone can get
them in this area if they have patience
about fishing around buoys, docks, and
My next encounter with them came
one afternoon after the sun had sunk
beneath the darkening horizon.
To be continued next week...
Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist
of Edison Ford Winter Estates, will
be offering all her knowledge on
herb growing in Southwest Florida at the
next Edible Gardening Exchange meeting.
The Edible Gardening Exchange meet-
ing will be held on Thursday, August 20
at 6:30 p.m . inside North Fort Myers
Community Center, located at 2000
North Recreation Park Way in North
Fort Myers. Arrive at 5:30 p.m. for an
open and informal chat on edible topics.
Consider bringing something to share
with other gardeners. Bring your own cup
for free coffee and tea.
Hughes is a Lee County Master
Gardener, a Certified Horticulture
Professional through the Florida Nursery
Growers and Landscape Association, and
Society of Horticultural Scientists. Her
greatest enjoyment involves sharing her
knowledge and love of gardening with
anyone who will listen.
The membership fee for monthly
meetings through September is $10. In
addition, a $10 Lee Parks and Recreation
lifetime membership of is required. For
more information, call Karen Harty at
The Atlantic tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis) has an unusual and distinctive appearance
photo courtesy of Will Drost/Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine
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