THE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP
METROPOLITAN  NATURALIST
OKEFENOKEE SWAMP, GEORGIA              Page 2
April, 2009
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Saw Palmetto
The fan shaped leaf of a Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens).
A Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans).
Bronze Frog
Saw Palmetto grows in thick clumps on the floor of the pine forests, in some places forming dense, almost
impenetrable mats. The name comes from the fine sharp teeth or spines on the leaf stems. Leaves can be up to
six feet in length. Saw palmetto has become famous recently as a treatment for benign prostate hyperplasia and
for general prostate health. An extract of the fruit is used for this purpose.

Saw palmetto berries are an important food for wildlife. The palm heart is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.
These, of course, should not be harvested in the state park or national wildlife refuge, where all plants and
animals are protected.
The Bronze Frog is named for the bronze color of its back. This frog is the southeastern subspecies of the
green frog (
Rana clamitans clamitans), which is found throughout the Eastern United States. They can be
identified by the light green on the upper lip, the presence of dorsolateral folds - folds on the sides of the
back, and the distinctive call that sounds sort of like someone plucking a banjo string. The frog in the picture
above is a male. Male bronze frogs have an eardrum, called a tympanum, larger than the eye. The eardrum
is a large circle just behind the eye. Bronze frogs breed through the spring and summer months, from April to
August.

Bronze frogs, like most frogs, start life as an aquatic tadpole. The tadpole stage of the bronze frog is
vegetarian, feeding on algae and aquatic vegetation. The adult is carnivorous feeding on insects and worms.
Okefenokee Swamp
A boat trail through the swamp in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Traveling through the submerged forests of the Okefenokee on the black tea-like water is a surreal
experience. The water is dark from the leaves of the cypress and other trees steeping in it.

A large part of the Okefenokee is only accessible by boat. Boat trails, like the one pictured above,
are maintained through the National Wildlife Refuge. Camping is allowed in designated campsites
and on platforms that have been set up at various locations in the swamp.

The trees growing from the water are cypress trees. Water Lily leaves float on the water in the
foreground.

Canoes and motor boats are available for rent at several locations around the Okefenokee,
including the Steven C Foster State Park. Taking a boat tour at the state park is a good way to get
an introduction to the swamp before venturing out on your own.
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