Painted Posts (sold) | Richard G. Tiberius

Painted Posts (sold)  |  Richard G. Tiberius

30 x 36 in | 76.2 x 91.4 cm

The trunks of these Pond Cypress trees (Taxodium ascendens) and Pond Apple trees (Annona glabra) look as though they have been splashed with paint. I thought that someone had painted the trunks to eliminate an insect pest, but my guidebook said that the splotches were a type of lichen. The book explained that the lichens in this sanctuary could be classified into three types according to their form. Some looked like paint; others were like little shingles; and a third were filamentous.

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When I looked at the “painted” areas on the trees more closely, the edges were defined and sharp just as if someone had painted them. I wasn’t convinced that it was lichen until I compared the colors of several different patches. If it were paint, the painter was a master colorist because each area was slightly different. There were shades of ochre and gray, dull green, blue, and even bright red! I love painting dramatic things like this but I’m concerned that people will think I made it up. If you think I made it up you must go see for yourself. The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is in Naples, Florida. It has been run by the Audubon Society since 1912. Boardwalks were installed in 1954 throughout the swamp so that you do not have to wear waders.Adding brilliance to this grove was a myriad of Bromeliads, or “air plants”, which hung from almost every tree. Bromeliads don’t flower in January but their leaves become thin and translucent at that time of year. When back lighted the leaves glow like fireworks from behind the trees. The Giant Leather Ferns (Acrostichum danaeifolium) in the foreground added even more life to the scene. Aside from their enormous size, about six feet (1.8 meters) tall, the little leaves that branch off of the main stem are very wavy and shiny so they catch the light creating lively, sparkling undulations of light.

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