Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 010617 Contents THE RIVER - JANUARY 6, 2017
by Gerri Reaves
Teabush (Melochia tomentosa) is a native perennial shrub or subshrub whose
hardiness and beauty recommend its increased use in the landscape.
This species endures tough conditions, such as nutrient poor soil, drought and
full sun – and produces pretty flowers spring through winter.
Those five-petaled purple, pink or magenta flowers provide nectar for butter flies
and attract hummingbirds.
The name teabush refers to the medicinal tea made from the leaves, which is a cold
treatment and eyewash.
Other common names are broomwood, woolly pyramidflower and pyramid
bush, the latter two names inspired by the plant’s tiny reddish brown pyramidal seed
In the wild, this member of the big hibiscus or mallow family grows in pinelands and
dry, open rocky limestone habitat.
Typically, it reaches three to five feet tall but can reach a bushy small-tree size.
The lanceolate alternate leaves are muted silvery green and serrated, or toothed.
They are covered with short soft hairs, thus the ter m tomentosa, which means fuzzy or
The leaves edges have a scalloped look because each tooth bends away from the
The flowers appear at the branch ends and feature five prominent long stamens
with brownish pollen-releasing anthers.
Sources: backyardnature.net, floridasnature.com and wildflower.org.
Plant Smart explores the diverse flora of South Florida.
Native teabush’s five-petaled flowers bloom most of the year and attract butterflies and
photo by Gerri Reaves
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Water Resources Conference
The Steering Committee of the Southwest Florida Water Resources Conference
announced the lineup of speakers for this year’s conference, held at Florida Gulf
Coast University’s Cohen Center Ballroom in Fort Myers on Friday, January 13.
This year’s theme, Cooperative Solutions: Working Together To Address Water
Challenges, recognizes our region’s need for all elements of society to cooperate in the
pursuit of actions that will improve our water systems and environment. The conference
will showcase how agencies, engineering firms, and non-profit organizations have worked
together and can continue to join forces on specific projects and larger initiatives. As
always, organizers have arranged for presentations by some of the leading experts in
water resources, and will include some of the top decision-makers responsible for water
resource planning and management in Southwest Florida, the state and the nation.
The conference brings together researchers, managers, agency staff, consultants and
other interested parties to discuss ongoing technical and social research and innovative
projects, to share ideas, and to increase awareness of the issues of water supply, water
use efficiency, waterbody protection, watershed health and environmental sustainability
As has become its tradition, the conference is Florida’s premier student poster contest
for water resources students statewide. Cash prizes are offered for the best research
posters, with first, second, and third-place awards in two divisions, graduate students and
undergraduate/high school students.
Topic sessions include:
• Successful Cooperative Projects/Realities of Cooperative Projects
• Regional Cooperative Approach To Water Management Projects with keynote
speaker Carol Collier of Drexel University. She will discuss Chesapeake Bay Cooperative
Programs for Water Management Improvement
• Blueprints For Cooperative Projects
Local speakers include Ray Judah, former Lee County Commissioner; Jennifer
Hecker, Charlotte Harbor NEP; and Dr. Richard Bartleson, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation
Advance registration is recommended. Registration will open at 8 a.m . Sessions will
conclude around 4:30 p.m . and will be followed by a networking social. The full technical
program and other details are available online at www.SWFWRC.org.
Students showcase their research posters
photo by Tom James, Pelican Media
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