THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES
-- Sawgrass and Seminole --
Pay-hai-o-koo (Grass Water) is what the Indians called the vast
region we know on the Everglades. This swamp was considered for
years, both by the outside world and the natives of the State, an
impenetrable jungle mysterious and foreboding. Seven times larger than
faced Dismal Swamp of Virginia, its 4,472 square miles form [sic] the
extensive swamp area in the United States.
Consisting of 286,208 acres of muck, mangrove, islands and
waterways, the Everglades lie cradled in a huge basin of lime rock. This
extends southward from Lake Okeechobee toward Cape Sable and
declines imperceptible in elevation as it goes.
Circling the outer edges of the' Glades, tall sawgrass shooting its
slender height from the shallow water, sometimes as high as teen feet,
give the effect of a treeless pampas. Graceful and harmless in
appearance, it sways like a field of ripened wheat; yet the blades are
sharp enough to cut the unwary and to tear ragged holes in canvas boats.
In the interior, thousands of islands, known as hammocks, some
small, some hundreds of acres in area, are thick with forms, tangles of
thorns, and wild flowers. Trees of sweet bay, native mahogany,
satinwood and gumbo-limbo spread their branches with the lignum vitae
and royal palm.