Miami River (Florida)
The Miami River is a river in the United States state of Florida that drains out of the Everglades and runs through the city of Miami, including Downtown. The 5.5-mile long river flows from the terminus of the Miami Canal at Miami International Airport to Biscayne Bay. It was a natural river inhabited at its mouth by the Tequesta Indians, but it was dredged and is now polluted throughout its route through Miami-Dade County; the mouth of the river is home to the Port of Miami and many other businesses whose pressure to maintain it has helped to improve the river's condition. Although it is believed that the name is derived from a Native American word that means "sweet water", the earliest mention of the name comes from Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, a captive of Indians in southern Florida for 17 years, when he referred to what is now Lake Okeechobee as the "Lake of Mayaimi, called Mayaimi because it is large"; the Mayaimi Indians were named beside which they lived. Spanish records include the cacique of "Maimi" in a group of 280 Florida Indians that arrived in Cuba in 1710.
Reports on a Spanish Mission to the Biscayne Bay area in 1743 mention "Maymies" or "Maimíes" living nearby. The river has been known as the Garband River, Rio Ratones, Fresh Water River, Sweetwater River, Lemon River, it has been known as the Miami River since the Second Seminole War of 1835–42. In its original natural state, the river started at rapids formed by water from the Everglades flowing over a rocky ledge four miles from its mouth. Frederick H. Gerdes of the U. S. Coast Survey reported in 1849 that "rom the upper falls to near its entrance into Key Biscayne Bay… water in the Glades was 6 feet 2.5 inches above low tide." The rapids were removed. The river divided into a South Fork about three miles above its mouth; each fork extended only one mile to rapids marking the edge of the Everglades. The North Fork had higher drop over its rapids. One-and-one-half miles above the mouth of the river there was a tributary on the north side, called Wagner Creek, about two miles long; the Miami River was fed by several springs, including some in the bed of the river.
Flow was variable, in times of drought the river did not flow. The earliest known inhabitants of the area around the Miami River were the Tequestas, their major town at the time of first European contact was on the north bank of the river near the mouth. Before the intensive development of Miami in the 20th century, mounds built by the Tequesta were located along the river. Spanish missions were established beside the river in 1567–70 and in 1743, but the area was abandoned when Spain turned Florida over to Britain in 1765; the area around the Miami River attracted settlers throughout the 19th century, with the major exception of the years of the Seminole Wars, but had little effect on the river. The United States Army tried to dig a channel through the sandbar at the mouth of the river in 1856 but stopped when it was decided that Fort Dallas would not be made permanent. Starting in the 2000s, two urban greenway projects known as the Miami Riverwalk and Miami River Greenway were started. Modification of the river began in earnest with the arrival of the Florida East Coast Railway in Miami in 1896.
There was much filling along the river. The rapids at the head of the South Fork were removed in 1908. From 1909 to 1912, the Miami Canal was dug; the canal was dammed off from the river for most of the construction period. When the canal was opened to the river in March 1912, large amounts of Everglades muck and finely ground stone from the dredging were washed down the river, silting it; as a result, the lower river had to be dredged three times in two years. Dredging of the river and of canals connecting to the river continued into the 1930s. Deepening the Miami River, as well as the drainage of the Everglades, a major purpose of the dredging, led to saltwater intrusion in the area, forcing the abandonment of drinking water wells on several occasions. By the 1940s, dams were being installed on the canals leading into the Miami River to prevent salt water from traveling inland; the Miami River became polluted. In 1897, Miami's first sewer line started emptying directly into the river. By the 1950s, 29 sewers were dumping untreated sewage into the river.
Dade County constructed a sewage treatment plant on Virginia Key in the 1950s and connected sewer lines to it, routing the raw sewage away from the river. The Miami River is the shortest working river in the United States; the Center for Urban & Environmental Solutions reported in 2008: "Waterborne commerce through the Miami River port doubled between an annual level of about 250,000 short tons in the early 1970s to about 500,000 in the early years of the new century. Foreign trade accounts for most of the commerce through the Miami River Port. Exports dominate the Port's commerce, accounting for over 75 percent of the total. In the 1970s, exports had averaged 56 percent of the total. Most of the Miami River's foreign trade is with the nearby countries of the Caribbean the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas; this reflects the suitability of the Miami River for shallow draft vessels which serve the many shallow draft ports in the Caribbean."The Miami River has long been home to many small cargo terminals at which smaller ships call to load cargo, most of, destined for ports in the Bahamas and various Caribbean nations.
It is an area into which all manner of
The Virginia opossum known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. In the United States, the animal is referred to as a possum, it is a nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat. It is a successful opportunist, it is familiar to many North Americans as it is seen near towns, rummaging through garbage cans, can become a nuisance. It is seen as roadkill; the Virginia opossum is the original animal named "opossum". The word comes from Algonquian wapathemwa meaning "white animal". Colloquially, the Virginia opossum is called "possum"; the name opossum is applied more to any of the other marsupials of the families Didelphidae and Caenolestidae. The generic name is derived from Ancient Greek: di, "two", delphus, "womb"; the possums of Australia, whose name is derived from a similarity to the opossums of the Americas, are marsupials, but of the order Diprotodontia. The Virginia opossum is known in Mexico as tlacuache and tlacuachi, from the Nahuatl word tlacuatzin.
The Virginia opossum is found throughout Central America and North America east of the Rockies from Costa Rica to southern Ontario and is expanding its range northward and northeasterly at a significant pace. Its pre-European settlement range was as far north as Maryland; the clearing of dense forests in these areas and further north by settlers allowed the opossum to move northward. Since 1900 it has expanded its range to include most of New England. Areas such as Rhode Island and Waterloo Region and Simcoe County in southern Ontario had sightings of opossums in the 1960s but now have them likely due to global warming causing winters to be warmer with less snow; some people speculate the expansion into Ontario occurred by opossums accidentally being transferred across the St. Lawrence, Detroit and St. Clair Rivers by motor vehicles or trains they may have climbed upon; as the opossum is not adapted to colder winters or heavy snow, its population may be reduced if a colder winter with heavier snow occurs in a particular northern region.
Its ancestors evolved in South America, but invaded North America in the Great American Interchange, after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama about 3 million years ago. The Virginia opossum was not native to the west coast of the United States, it was intentionally introduced into the West during the Great Depression as a source of food, now occupies much of the Pacific coast. Its range has been expanding northward into British Columbia, Canada. A sizable population exists in Utah, feeding on human animal food in the cities; these animals nest under houses to survive the long winters. Virginia opossums can vary in size, with larger specimens found to the north of the opossum's range and smaller specimens in the tropics, they measure 13–37 in long from their snout to the base of the tail, with the tail adding another 8.5–19 in. Weight for males ranges for females from 11 ounces to 8.2 lb. They are one of the world's most variably sized mammals, since a large male from northern North America weighs about 20 times as much as a small female from the tropics.
Their coats are a dull grayish brown, other than on their faces. Opossums have long, prehensile tails, which can be used to grab branches and carry small objects, they have hairless ears and a long, flat nose. Opossums have 50 teeth, more than any other North American land mammal, opposable, clawless thumbs on their rear limbs; the dental formula of an opossum is 5134/4134. No other mammal in North America has more than 6 upper incisors, but the Virginia opossum has 10. Opossums have 13 nipples, arranged in a circle of 12 with one in the middle. For such a widespread and successful species, the Virginia opossum has one of the lowest encephalization quotients of any marsupial, its brain is one-fifth the size of a raccoon's. Virginia opossum tracks show five finger-like toes in both the fore and hind prints; the hind tracks are unusual and distinctive due to the opossum's opposable thumb, which prints at an angle of 90° or greater to the other fingers. Individual adult tracks measure 1.9 in long by 2.0 in wide for the fore prints and 2.5 in long by 2.3 in wide for the hind prints.
Opossums have hind except on the two thumbs. In a soft medium, such as the mud in this photograph, the foot pads show; the tracks in the photograph were made. The four aligned toes on the hind print show the approximate direction of travel. In a pacing gait, the limbs on one side of the body are moved just prior to moving both limbs on the other side of the body; this is illustrated in the pacing diagram, which explains why the left-fore and right-hind tracks are found together. However, if the opossum were not walking
Lake Okeechobee known as Florida's Inland Sea, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the eighth largest natural freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest natural freshwater lake contained within the contiguous United States. Okeechobee covers 730 square miles half the size of the state of Rhode Island, is exceptionally shallow for a lake of its size, with an average depth of only 9 feet; the Kissimmee River, located directly north of Lake Okeechobee, is the lake's primary source. The lake is divided between Glades, Martin, Palm Beach, Hendry counties. All five counties meet at one point near the center of the lake; the name Okeechobee comes from chubi. Mayaimi, meaning "big water," is the oldest known name, as reported in the 16th century, by Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda. In the 16th century, René Goulaine de Laudonnière reported hearing about a large freshwater lake in southern Florida called Serrope. By the 18th century the mythical lake was known to British mapmakers and chroniclers by the Spanish name Laguna de Espiritu Santo.
In the early 19th century it was known as Mayacco Lake or Lake Mayaca after the Mayaca people from the upper reaches of the St. Johns River, who moved near the lake in the early 18th century; the modern Port Mayaca on the east side of the lake preserves that name. On the southern rim of Lake Okeechobee, three islands—Kreamer and Torey—were once settled by early pioneers; these settlements had a general store, post office and town elections. Farming was the main vocation; the fertile land was challenging to farm because of the muddy muck. Over the first half of the twentieth century, farmers used agricultural tools—including tractors—to farm in the muck. By the 1960s, all of these settlements were abandoned. In 1926 the Great Miami Hurricane hit the Lake Okeechobee area, killing 300 people. Two years in 1928, the Okeechobee Hurricane crossed over the lake, killing thousands; the Red Cross reported 1,836 deaths, a figure which the National Weather Service accepted, but in 2003, the number was revised to "at least 2,500".
In both cases the catastrophe was caused by flooding from a storm surge when strong winds drove water over the 6.6-foot mud dike that circled the lake at the time. After the two hurricanes, the Florida State Legislature created the "Okeechobee Flood Control District"; the organization was authorized to cooperate with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in actions to prevent similar disasters. U. S. President Herbert Hoover visited the area and afterward the Corps designed a plan incorporating the construction of channels and nearly 140 miles of levees to protect areas surrounding Lake Okeechobee from overflow; the Okeechobee Waterway was opened on 23 March 1937 by a procession of boats which left Fort Myers, Florida on 22 March and arrived at Stuart, Florida the following day. The dike was named the "Herbert Hoover Dike" in honor of the president; the 1947 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane sent an larger storm surge to the crest of the new dike, causing it to be expanded again in the 1960s. Four recent hurricanes - Frances, Jeanne and Irma – had no major adverse effects on communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee though the lake rose 18 inches after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
Tropical Storm Ernesto increased water levels by 1 foot in 2006, the last time. However, the lake's level began dropping soon after and by July 2007, it had dropped more than 4 feet to its all-time low of 8.82 feet. In August 2008, Tropical Storm Fay increased water levels to 2 feet above sea level, the first time it exceeded 12 feet since January 2007. Over a seven-day period, about 8 inches of rain fell directly onto the lake. During construction of the dike, earth was excavated along the inside perimeter, resulting in a deep channel which runs along the perimeter of the lake. In most places the canal is part of the lake, but in others it is separated from the open lake by low grassy islands such as Kreamer Island. During the drought of 2007–2008 this canal remained navigable while much of surrounding areas were too shallow or above the water line; when the waters are higher, navigating the open lake can be tricky, whereas the rim canal is simple, so to reach a specific location in the lake it is easiest to go around the rim canal to get close take one of the many channels into the lake.
In 2007, during a drought, state water and wildlife managers removed thousands of truckloads of toxic mud from the lake's floor, in an effort to restore the lake's natural sandy base and create clearer water and better habitat for wildlife. The mud contained elevated levels of arsenic and other pesticides. According to tests from the South Florida Water Management District, arsenic levels on the northern part of the lake bed were as much as four times the limit for residential land. Independent tests found the mud too polluted for use on agricultural or commercial lands, therefore difficult to dispose of on land. Through early 2008, the lake remained well below normal levels, with large portions of the lake bed exposed above the water line. During this time, portions of the lake bed, covered in organic matter, caught fire. In late August 2008, Tropical Storm Fay inundated Florida with record amounts of rain. Lake Okeechobee received a 4 feet increase in water level, including local run-off from the tributaries.
In 2013 heavy rains in central Florida resulted in high runoff into t
Great Lakes region
The Great Lakes region of North America is a bi-national Canadian–American region that includes portions of the eight U. S. states of Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. The region centers on the Great Lakes and forms a distinctive historical and cultural identity. A portion of the region encompasses the Great Lakes Megalopolis; the Great Lakes Commission, authorized by the region's American states and Province of Ontario, the additional Canadian Province of Quebec, comprises a bi-national authority with specified powers to protect and preserve the water and environmental resources of the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways and aquifers. The Commission's authorities are confirmed by the Canadian and American federal governments, by its constituent states and provinces; the states and provinces are represented in the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers; the Great Lakes region takes its name from the corresponding geological formation of the Great Lakes Basin, a narrow watershed encompassing The Great Lakes, bounded by watersheds to the region's north, west and south.
To the east, the rivers of St. Lawrence, Hudson and Susquehanna form an arc of watersheds east to The Atlantic; the Great Lakes region, as distinct from the Great Lakes Basin, defines a unit of sub-national political entities defined by the U. S. states and the Canadian Province of Ontario encompassing the Great Lakes watershed, the states and Province bordering one or more of the Great Lakes. Prior to European settlement, Iroquoian people lived around Lakes Erie and Ontario, Algonquian peoples around most of the rest, a variety of other indigenous nation-peoples including the Menominee, Illinois, Huron, Erie, Miami, Meskwaki and Ho-Chunk. With the first permanent European settlements in the early seventeenth century, all these nation-peoples developed an extensive fur trade with French and English merchants in the St. Lawrence and Mohawk Valleys, Hudson's Bay, respectively; the prospects of fur monopolies and discovery of a fabled Northwest Passage to Asia generated sporadic but intense competition among the three most powerful northwest Europe imperial nations to control the territory.
A century and a half of naval and land wars among France, The Netherlands and Britain resulted in British control of the region, from the Ohio River to the Arctic, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Beyond the region, North American claims remained disputed among Britain, France and Russia. Britain defeated France decisively at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City in 1759, the Treaty of Paris that ended The Seven Years' War, known in America as the French and Indian War ceded the entire region to the victor. Britain's claims were intensely disputed by a confederation of Indians during Pontiac's Rebellion, which induced major concessions to still sovereign Indian nations. During the American Revolution, the region was contested between Britain and rebellious American colonies. Hoping for favorable claims of territorial control in an eventual peace treaty with Britain, American adventurers led by Kentucky militia leader George Rogers Clark occupied village settlements, including Cahokia and Vincennes unopposed, with passive support from Francophone inhabitants.
In the Peace of Paris Britain ceded what became known as The Northwest Territory, the area bounded by Great Lakes and Ohio rivers, the eastern colonies of New York and Pennsylvania, to the fledgling United States. Britain, which may have entertained ambitions to repossess the area if America failed to govern it, retained control over its forts and licensed fur trade for fifteen years. During the Confederacy Period of 1781–1789, the Continental Congress passed three ordinances whose authority was unclear regarding the region's governance on the American side; the Land Ordinance of 1784 established the broad outlines of future governance. The territory would be divided into six states, which would be given broad powers of constitutional instituting, admitted to the nation as equal members; the Land Ordinance of 1785 specified the manner in which land would be distributed in the Territory, favoring sale in small parcels to settlers who would work their own farms. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 defined the political protocols by which American states south of the lakes would enter the union as political equals with the original thirteen colonies.
The ordinance, adopted in its final form just before the writing of the United States Constitution, was a sweeping, visionary proposal to create what was at the time a radical experiment in democratic governance and economy. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 prohibited slavery, restricted primogeniture, mandated universal public education, provided for affordable farm land to people who settled and improved it, required peaceful, lawful treatment of the Indian population; the ordinance prohibited the establishment of state religion and established civic rights that foreshadowed the United States Bill of Rights. Civil rights included freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, trial by jury, exemption from unreasonable search and seizure. States were authorized to organize constitutional conventions and petition for admission as states equal to the original thirteen. Five states evolved from its provisions: Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin; the northeastern sectio
The various cultures collectively termed "Mound Builders" were inhabitants of North America who, during a circa 5,000-year period, constructed various styles of earthen mounds for religious, ceremonial and elite residential purposes. These included the pre-Columbian cultures of the Archaic period, Woodland period, Mississippian period. Since the 19th century, the prevailing scholarly consensus has been that the mounds were constructed by indigenous peoples of the Americas. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers met natives living in a number of Mississippian cities, described their cultures, left artifacts. Research and study of these cultures and peoples has been based on archaeology and anthropology; the namesake cultural trait of the Mound Builders was the building of other earthworks. These burial and ceremonial structures were flat-topped pyramids or platform mounds, flat-topped or rounded cones, elongated ridges, sometimes a variety of other forms, they were built as part of complex villages.
The early earthworks built in Louisiana around 3500 BCE are the only ones known to have been built by a hunter-gatherer culture. The best-known flat-topped pyramidal structure, which at more than 100 ft tall is the largest pre-Columbian earthwork north of Mexico, is Monks Mound at Cahokia in present-day Collinsville, Illinois. At its maximum about CE 1150, Cahokia was an urban settlement with 20,000–30,000 people; some effigy mounds were constructed in the outlines of culturally significant animals. The most famous effigy mound, Serpent Mound in southern Ohio, ranges from 1 to just over 3 ft tall. 20 ft wide, more than 1,330 ft long, shaped as an undulating serpent. Many different tribal groups and chiefdoms, involving an array of beliefs and unique cultures over thousands of years, built mounds as expressions of their cultures; the general term, "mound builder", covered their shared architectural practice of earthwork mound construction. This practice, believed to be associated with a cosmology that had a cross-cultural appeal, may indicate common cultural antecedents.
The first mound building was an early marker of political and social complexity among the cultures in the Eastern United States. Watson Brake in Louisiana, constructed about 3500 BCE during the Middle Archaic period, is the oldest dated mound complex in North America, it is one of 11 mound complexes from this period found in the Lower Mississippi Valley. These mound builders were organized; the most complete reference for these earthworks is Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, written by Ephraim G. Squier and Edwin H. Davis, it was published in 1848 by the Smithsonian Institution. Since many of the features which the authors documented have since been destroyed or diminished by farming and development, their surveys and descriptions are still used by modern archaeologists. All of the sites which they identified as located in Kentucky came from the manuscripts of C. S. Rafinesque. Hernando de Soto, the Spanish conquistador, who during 1540–1542, traversed what became the Southeast United States, encountered many different mound-builder peoples descendants of the great Mississippian culture.
The mound-building tradition still existed in the southeast during the mid-16th century. De Soto observed people living in fortified towns with lofty mounds and plazas, surmised that many of the mounds served as foundations for priestly temples. Near present-day Augusta, Georgia, de Soto encountered a mound-building group ruled by a queen, Cofitachequi, she told him. The artist Jacques le Moyne, who had accompanied French settlers to northeastern Florida during the 1560s noted many Native American groups using existing mounds and constructing others, he produced a series of watercolor paintings depicting scenes of native life. Although most of his paintings have been lost, some engravings were copied from the originals and published in 1591 by a Flemish company. Among these is a depiction of the burial of an aboriginal Floridian tribal chief, an occasion of great mourning and ceremony; the original caption reads: Maturin Le Petit, a Jesuit priest, met the Natchez people as did Le Page du Pratz, a French explorer.
Both observed them in the area that became Mississippi. The Natchez were devout worshippers of the sun. Having a population of some 4,000, they occupied at least nine villages and were presided over by a paramount chief, known as the Great Sun, who wielded absolute power. Both observers noted the high temple mounds which the Natchez had built so that the Great Sun could commune with God, the sun, his large residence was built atop the highest mound, from "which, every morning, he greeted the rising sun, invoking thanks and blowing tobacco smoke to the four cardinal directions". Explorers to the same regions, only a few decades after mound-building settlements had been reported, found the regions depopulated, the residents vanished, the mounds untended. Since little violent conflict with Europeans had occurred in that area during that period, the most plausible explanation is that infectious diseases from the Old World, such as smallpox
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American civilization archeologists date from about 800 CE to 1600 CE, varying regionally. It was composed of a series of urban settlements and satellite villages linked together by a loose trading network; the largest city was Cahokia, believed to be a major religious center. The civilization flourished from the southern shores of the Great Lakes at Western New York and Western Pennsylvania in what is now the Eastern Midwest, extending south-southwest into the lower Mississippi Valley and wrapping easterly around the southern foot of the Appalachians barrier range into what is now the Southeastern United States; the Mississippian way of life began to develop in the Mississippi River Valley. Cultures in the tributary Tennessee River Valley may have begun to develop Mississippian characteristics at this point. All dated Mississippian sites predate 1539–1540, with notable exceptions being Natchez communities that maintained Mississippian cultural practices into the 18th century.
A number of cultural traits are recognized as being characteristic of the Mississippians. Although not all Mississippian peoples practiced all of the following activities, they were distinct from their ancestors in adoption of some or all of these traits; the construction of large, truncated earthwork pyramid mounds, or platform mounds. Such mounds were square, rectangular, or circular. Structures were constructed atop such mounds. Maize-based agriculture. In most places, the development of Mississippian culture coincided with adoption of comparatively large-scale, intensive maize agriculture, which supported larger populations and craft specialization. Women ate more maize, whereas men ate more animal meat. Shell-tempered pottery; the adoption and use of riverine shells as tempering agents in ceramics. Widespread trade networks extending as far west as the Rockies, north to the Great Lakes, south to the Gulf of Mexico, east to the Atlantic Ocean; the development of the chiefdom or complex chiefdom level of social complexity.
The development of institutionalized social inequality. A centralization of control of combined political and religious power in the hands of few or one; the beginnings of a settlement hierarchy, in which one major center has clear influence or control over a number of lesser communities, which may or may not possess a smaller number of mounds. The adoption of the paraphernalia of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex called the Southern Cult; this is the belief system of the Mississippians. SECC items are found in Mississippian-culture sites from Wisconsin to the Gulf Coast, from Florida to Arkansas and Oklahoma; the SECC was tied into ritual game-playing, as with chunkey. The Mississippians had no writing stone architecture, they worked occurring metal deposits, such as hammering and annealing copper for ritual objects such as Mississippian copper plates and other decorations, but did not smelt iron or practice bronze metallurgy. The Mississippi stage is divided into three or more chronological periods.
Each period is an arbitrary historical distinction varying regionally. At a particular site, each period may be considered to begin earlier or depending on the speed of adoption or development of given Mississippian traits; the "Mississippi period" should not be confused with the "Mississippian culture". The Mississippi period is the chronological stage, while Mississippian culture refers to the cultural similarities that characterize this society; the Early Mississippi period had just transitioned from the Late Woodland period way of life. Different groups abandoned tribal lifeways for increasing complexity, sedentism and agriculture. Production of surplus corn and attractions of the regional chiefdoms led to rapid population concentrations in major centers; the Middle Mississippi period is the apex of the Mississippi era. The expansion of the great metropolis and ceremonial complex at Cahokia, the formation of other complex chiefdoms, the spread and development of SECC art and symbolism are characteristic changes of this period.
The Mississippian traits listed above came to be widespread throughout the region. The Late Mississippi period is characterized by increasing warfare, political turmoil, population movement; the population of Cahokia dispersed early in this period migrating to other rising political centers. More defensive structures are seen at sites, sometimes a decline in mound-building and large-scale, public ceremonialism. Although some areas continued an Middle Mississippian culture until the first significant contact with Europeans, the population of most areas had dispersed or were experiencing severe social stress by 1500. Along with the contemporaneous Ancestral Pueblo peoples, these cultural collapses coincide with the global climate change of the Little Ice Age. Scholars theorize drought and the reduction of maize agriculture, together with possible deforestation and overhunting by the concentrated populations, forced them to move away from major sites; this period ended with European contact in the 16th century.
The term Middle Mississippian is used to describe the core of the classic Mississippian culture area. This area covers the central Mississippi River Valley, the lower Ohio River Valley, most of the Mid-South area, including western and central Kentucky, western Tennessee, northern Alabama and Mississippi. Sites in this area often
Zamia integrifolia is a small, woody cycad native to the southeast United States, the Bahamas, Grand Cayman and extinct in Puerto Rico and Haiti. Zamia integrifolia produces reddish seed cones with a distinct acuminate tip; the leaves are 20–100 cm long, with 5-30 pairs of leaflets. Each leaflet is linear to lanceolate or oblong-obovate, 8–25 cm long and 0.5–2 cm broad, entire or with indistinct teeth at the tip. They are revolute, with prickly petioles, it is similar in many respects to the related Zamia pumila, but that species differs in the more obvious toothing on the leaflets. This is a low-growing plant, with a trunk that grows to 3–25 cm high, but is subterranean. Over time, it forms a multi-branched cluster, with a large, tuberous root system, an extension of the above-ground stems; the leaves can be lost during cold periods, with the plant lying dormant in its tuberous root system, allowing this cycad to be cold hardy. The plant can survive up to USDA region 8b; the stems and leaves regenerate after the cold period subsides with full foliage Like other cycads, Zamia integrifolia is dioecious, having male or female plants.
The male cones are cylindrical, growing to 5–16 cm long. The female cones grow to 5 -- 19 cm long and 4 -- 6 cm in diameter; this plant has several common names. Two names, Florida arrowroot and wild sago, refer to the former commercial use of this species as the source of an edible starch. Coontie is derived from the Seminole Native American language conti hateka. Zamia integrifolia inhabits a variety of habitats with sandy loam soils, it prefers filtered sunlight to partial shade. Populations are presently limited to Florida, southeastern Georgia, central Cuba and the Dominican Republic, it was native in southern Puerto Rico and Haiti, but was made extinct in those areas by intensive land use. Controversy has long existed over the classification of Zamia in Florida; the Flora of North America treats all of the American populations as Z. integrifolia. Genetically, the differences between populations cannot be explained by habitat variability. Studies conducted by Ward showed that five different Florida populations of Z. integrifolia with identical cultivation produced distinct leaf morphology, suggesting that there may be too much genetic diversity amongst these Florida Z. integrifolia, not to mention geographically isolated populations, to consider them a single species.
The plant has critical importance to the Eumaeus atala butterfly. The butterfly, thought extinct until is dependent for its survival on the Zamia integrifolia, as well as several other species of Zamia. At the larval stage, the Eumaeus atala caterpillar eats the leaves of the coontie. A half dozen caterpillars can strip a coontie bare and a large coontie population is needed to sustain the Eumaeus atala population. Mealybug destroyers, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, are found on Z. floridana. They form a mutualistic relationship by providing the plant protection from pests in exchange for food, they feed on the coonties' natural enemies and mealybugs, thereby reducing the need for pesticides. All parts of Zamia integrifolia are toxic to humans if eaten raw, although Black Seminoles were known to strain it. Preparation of an edible starch, or arrowroot, from the roots requires complex processing. All plant parts are poisonous to dogs and livestock. Three of the most common pests of Z. floridana are Florida red scales, hemispherical scales and longtailed mealybugs.
When infested, the plant's growth is stunted, it becomes covered with blackish mold. Infestations are not limited to one species. Since Z. floridana is a cycad, which are the only group of gymnosperms that form nitrogen-fixing associations, it depends on microbes as a source of nitrogen. It forms a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria, which live in specialized roots called coralloid roots and are green in color despite not photosynthesizing; the filamentous cyanobacteria belonging to the genus Nostoc, able to form symbiosis with a wide range of organisms, inhabits the mucilage in the microaerobic and dark intercellular zone in between the inner and outer cortex of coralloid roots. This zone is connected by elongated Zamia cells. Coralloid roots are just like lateral roots, but specialized to contain cyanobacteria; the cones called strobilus, of Z. floridana are dioecious. The male strobilus and the female strobilus are found on two separate plants; the cones on the female plant have red-orange seeds.
They have a velvety texture, only grow up to 6 inches. On the other hand, the ones on the male plant are narrow and tall, contain pollen, they can reach a length of 7 inches. Female cones are borne singularly, whereas male cones grow in groups or clusters; the growing season of Z. floridana is during the spring, the sex of the plant is undetermined until cones are produced. Zamia species produce more than one cone close to the tip of the stem or at the terminal of the caudex where it intersects with the aboveground stem; the multiple cones of Z. floridana may develop through three methods: sympodium, forking of the bundle system, adventitious buds. The most comm