Cane Slough? Maidencane not Sugarcane! St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

The J.J. Pichford Family camping at Cane Slough ca. 1918. (Archives, historian, Sandra Thurlow.) photo copy courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
The J.J. Pichford Family camping at Cane Slough ca. 1918. (Archives, historian, Sandra Thurlow.)
1909-11 ACOE Drainage map Kissimmee and Caloosahatchee Rivers. (Courtesy  historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
1909-11 ACOE Drainage map Kissimmee and Caloosahatchee Rivers. (Courtesy of Stephen Dutcher and historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
Google Map image includes much of what was Cane Slough in the historic map.
Google Map image includes much of what was “Cane Slough” in the historic map.

In these parts” it’s very important to know the definition of “cane!”

Yesterday’s blog referred to “Cane Slough”on the historic 1909 map by the Army Corp of Engineers.  I made a joke about “cane” not meaning “sugarcane” as one may first think when hearing the word “cane” today. After publishing the post, I learned even more about “cane” from a long time family friend and wanted to share this with you today.

Fred Taylor informed me that “cane” is referring to “maidencane,” and that there are still places where  maidencane grows today, it is great for wildlife and also the cows eat it. I think I had thought that MAIDENCANE was a hard-rock band…According to the Florida Wildlife Commission:

Maidencane: This vaulable and common native can form large stands in the water or even on dry banks. It may be confused with torpedo grass, para grass, cupscale grass or blue maidencane. It provides food, protection and nesting materials for wildlife.

Maidencane is a grass. rhizomes extensive; stems to 6 ft. long, narrow, leaning or erect; leaf blades flat or folded, wide, to 1 in. wide, to 12 in. long, tips pointed, usually smooth; sheaths loose, hairless to hairy; inflorescence erect, narrow, spike-like, closed, 4-12 in. long, ascending branches pressed to main axis; spikelets stalked, flowers to 1/8 in. long, green, pressed against branches. ( FWC:http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/306)

Who is the woman with the rifle in the classic historic photo above? She is Mrs J.J. Pichford.

Mrs J. J. Pichford has just shot a wild turkey for dinner. She is camping at “Cane Slough” around 1918. Her young son nearby, they stand in what is a now developed portion of our St Lucie/Martin County region.

On the back of the photo,  my mother wrote: Wagon Wheel Hammock–Would travel by wagon through White City to the back country where there were no roads. Young Robert would always fear his family would get lost in the wilderness…

Well that wilderness is gone today, and my husband Ed is lucky if I’ve had time to stop by Publix! Times have changed as has our treasured St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon Region, but apparently there is still some maidencane left if you know where to look. 🙂

Maidencane, public photo.
Maidencane, public photo.
Maidencane public photo.
Maidencane public photo.
The J.J. Pichford Family camping at Cane Slough ca. 1918. (Archives of historian, Sandra Thurlow.)
The J.J. Pichford Family camping at Cane Slough ca. 1918.

Original blog post mentioning Cane Slough: (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/06/03/1909-acoe-drainage-map-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/)

Full map...
Full map…

4 thoughts on “Cane Slough? Maidencane not Sugarcane! St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. At lowes you can get a meter to tell how acidic the soil is. There is a small stream off US1 about a half mile north of Valkaria road. About 3 years ago I checked the soil around where this stream ran into the IRL. It was burning up. The ph was about 3.5 to 5. I wondered why this stream would be so acidic because it is not near any roads. After a while I figured that the old burnt trees meant there had been a fire 10 to 20 years ago. Rageing fires like this makes nitric acid from heating up the air which is nitrogen and oxyigen. I remember when these cain fields would catch fire and burn monster fires for weeks. It is no wonder airboaters can not find any frogs like they used to.This stream is now a haven for menhaden and mullet who are loving it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps instead of Big Ag. They should be refered to as the farmers from HELL. Burning the cain and acidifying Lake O to preserve all the nutriants until they put the water on THEIR crops. Where the acid is nutrilized allowing the THEIR plants to suck up all the nutriants.

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