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Sand or Hospital Key

island, plants and noted


Stretching eastward from Garden Key and separated from each other by almost equal distances are Sand, Middle, and East Keys. All three are small and only the easternmost one, East Key, supports any real covering of vegetation. Sand Key, which is also said to have been used for hospital purposes during the yellow-fever plague of the late sixties, is only about 90 feet long and half as wide, and consists entirely of blistering and glaring white coral sand. It was visited at various times by the author during 1915 and 1916, and at the first visit he noted near the central portion of the key one plant of Scevola and two plants of Iva imbricata. These seemed to be growing and flourishing. During July, in 1915, several visits were made and on the last occasion only one dead Sccevola plant and several dead Cakile plants were found. There was nothing alive on the island but a few hermit crabs and some sea birds fishing near the beach at the western tip of the island. The

sand was so hot at mid-day that, after walking over the island a few minutes, shoes had to be removed and the circuit of the island com pleted by wading. With this incident as an illustration, it is seen that only the hardiest plants can live on these blistering sand islands.

In Lansing and Millspaugh's paper, Lansing noted 5 species, fairly well scattered over the island—Uniola in the north, Sesuvium in three groups on the east, and Iva along the west shore, the central area being filled with Ipomcea and Chanue.syce. Since March 21, 1904, then, the whole island must have been denuded of vegetation and the three species noted by the author have come in lately. All the plants have gradually succumbed to the hard conditions on the island. Of Lan sing's 5 species, only Iva imbricata was found by the author; Sccevola and Cakile were not reported by him as being there at that time.