Lovell-Saas Wedding Photography   Pine Needle Basket-weaving  
Fred A. Saas Architect   Beach Weddings   Beach Plants   Tours  Home School Science   
Home Sites on Biophilia   Native Plant & Wildlife Links   Sail the Daedalus   Invasive Plants

12695 C.R. 95, Elberta, Alabama 36530 U.S.A.   251 987-1200
Centrally located between Fairhope and Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. Site C. 2001 C. Lovell-Saas.

BIOPHILIA is the human love for living things.

Biophilia Nature Center, Native Nursery & Bookstore

Anoles Fighting over a Girl

Black Swallowtail Extending Osmeterium

School of Lost and Found Arts, Library

Green Tree Frogs in Hybrid Pitchers

Dewthread hybrid

Carol Lovell-Saas with Blue Jays

Painted Lady Butterfly

Eastern Bluebird, male

Young Striped Skunk

Amsonia ciliata, Bluestar

Biophilia Grady Pond

Rhododendron austrinum, Native Azalea

Barking Tree Frog

Spicebush Caterpillar & American Hercules Beetle

Sulfur Butterfly

We specialize in native butterfly host plants and contract growing, even for small orders. They will be in small (3"- 5" pots) but well rooted.

Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum) for Longtailed Skipper butterfly caterpillars
False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) for Red Admiral caterpillars, Question Marks, Commas

Recommended Plants listed by Common Names

- Beach Morning Glory (Ipomoea imperati) white flower
- Bergamot, Wild (Monarda fistulosa) for hummers and butterflies; smells like Earl Grey Tea
- Black Willow (for Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple caterpillars
- Blazing Star (Liatris spp.) for butterflies
- Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium atlanticum)
- Bluestar (Amsonia ciliata) for butterflies
- Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum) for Longtailed Skipper butterfly caterpillars
- Conradina (Conradina canescens) (able to grow in beach sand) for butterflies
- Coral Bean (Erythrina herbacea) has red flowers for hummers; ornamental, poisonous red beans persist on shrub for months
- Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) for hummers
- Dewthread (Drosera filiformis) loves to eat no-see-ums and fruit flies
- Evergreen blueberry (Vaccinium darrowii) Naturally small blueberry with multicolored pastel foliage
- False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) for Red Admiral caterpillars
- Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) (Creeping Charlie) for Phaeon Crescent and Buckeye caterpillars
- Grass-leaved Golden Aster (Pityopsis graminifolia) (Silkgrass) Alternative to Lawn!
- Hooded Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia minor)
- Hybrid pitcher plants, absolutely gorgeous and amazing (Sarracenia hybrids)
- Lance-leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) for butterflies (very drought tolerant)
- Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) for hummers and butterflies (lavendar/pink)
- Parrot Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia psittacina)
- Partridge Pea (Cassia fasciculata) for Sulfur butterfly caterpillars
- Passionvine, Passionflower, Maypop (Passiflora incarnata) for Fritillary caterpillars
- Paw paw, Small-fruited (Asimina parviflora) for Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars
- Paw paw tree (Asimina triloba) for Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars

- Pink sundew (Drosera capillaris)
- Pipevine (Aristolochia tomentosa) for Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars (Wooly or Woolly Pipevine)
- Powdery Thalia (Thalia dealbata) for ponds or wetlands, also for Brazilian Skippers
- Red Basil (Calamintha coccinea) for hummingbirds and butterflies
- Red Bay (Persea borbonia) for Palamedes and Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars
- Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) for many, many species of birds! They love the berries.
- Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) white flower, red throat
- Salt Marsh Mallow (Kosteletzkya virginica) for butterflies, bright pink flower
- Scarlet Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) for hummers and butterflies
- Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata)
- Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)
- Showy Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)
- Sidesaddle or Purple Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea)
- Silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia) Grass-leaved Golden Aster, Alternative to Lawn!
- Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) for Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars
- Stokes Aster (Stokesia laevis) One of the best nectar flowers for butterflies
- Summer Phlox (Phlox paniculata) for butterflies
- Sundew (Drosera intermedia)
- Swamp Bay (Persea palustris) for Palamedes and Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars
- Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus grandiflorus) pink flower
- Sensitive Plant (Mimosa strigillosa) for Little Sulphur caterpillars
- Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) for Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars
- Violet, Common (Viola sororia) for Variegated Fritillary, Spangled Fritillary, Diana Fritillary caterpillars
- White Topped Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia leucophylla)
- Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) for hummers and butterflies; smells like Earl Grey Tea

- Winged Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia alata)
- Wisteria, NATIVE (Wisteria frutescens) for Longtailed Skipper caterpillars
- Wooly Pipevine (Aristolochia tomentosa) for Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars (Woolly Pipevine)
- Yellow Passionflower (Passiflora lutea) Small, shade loving, with small pale yellow flowers for Fritillary caterpillars
- Yellow Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia flava)

Recommended Plants Listed by Scientific Names (Note: the same list is printed alphabetically by common names above:-)

Amsonia ciliata - Bluestar for butterflies
Aristolochia tomentosa - Woolly Pipevine for Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars
Asimina triloba - Paw paw tree for Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars
Asimina parviflora - Small-fruited Paw paw for Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars
Boehmeria cylindrica - False Nettle for Red Admiral caterpillars

Calamintha coccinea - Red Basil for hummingbirds and butterflies
Cassia fasciculata - Partridge Pea for Sulfur butterfly caterpillars
Centrosema virginianum - Butterfly Pea for Longtailed Skipper butterfly caterpillars

Morus rubra - Red Mulberry for many, many species of birds! They love the berries.
Conradina canescens - Conradina (able to grow in beach sand) for butterflies
Coreopsis lanceolata - Lance-leaved Coreopsis for butterflies (very drought tolerant)
Drosera capillaris - Pink sundew
Drosera filiformis (green or red glands) - Dewthread loves to eat no-see-ums and fruit flies
Drosera intermedia - Sundew
Erythrina herbacea - Coral Bean has red flowers for hummers; ornamental, poisonous red beans persist on shrub for months
Hibiscus coccineus - Scarlet Hibiscus for hummers and butterflies
Hibiscus moscheutos - Rose Mallow: white flower, red throat
Hibiscus grandiflorus - Swamp Hibiscus: pink flower
Ipomoea pes-caprae - Railroad Vine: bright pink flower
Ipomoea imperati or Ipomoea stolonifera - Beach Morning Glory: white flower
Kosteletzkya virginica - Salt Marsh Mallow for butterflies, bright pink flower
Liatris chapmanii - Blazing Star for butterflies
Lindera benzoin - Spicebush for Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars
Liriodendron tulipifera - Tulip Tree for Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars
Lonicera sempervirens - Coral Honeysuckle for hummers
Mimosa strigillosa - Sensitive Plant for Little Sulphur caterpillars
Monarda fistulosa - Wild Bergamot for hummers and butterflies, smells like Earl Grey Tea
Morus rubra - Red Mulberry for many, many species of birds! They love the berries.
Oenothera speciosa - Showy Evening Primrose
Passiflora incarnata - Passionvine for Fritillary caterpillars
Passiflora lutea - Small, shade loving, with small pale yellow flowers for Fritillary caterpillars

Persea borbonia - Red Bay for Palamedes and Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars
Persea palustris - Swamp Bay for Palamedes and Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars
Phlox paniculata - Summer Phlox for butterflies
Phyla nodiflora - Frogfruit for Phaeon Crescent and Buckeye caterpillars
Physostegia virginiana - Obedient Plant for hummers and butterflies (lavendar/pink)
Pityopsis graminifolia - Grass-leaved Golden Aster (Silkgrass) Alternative to Lawn!
Pycnanthemum muticum - Silver or Short-toothed Mountain Mint
Salix niger - Black Willow for Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple caterpillars
Sarracenia alata - Winged Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia flava - Yellow Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia leucophylla - White Topped Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia minor - Hooded Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia psittacina - Parrot Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia purpurea - Sidesaddle or Purple Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia hybrids - hybrid pitcher plants, absolutely gorgeous and amazing
Sassafras albidum - Sassafras tree for Spicebush butterfly caterpillars
Sisyrinchium atlanticum - Blue-eyed Grass
Solidago sempervirens - Seaside Goldenrod
Stokesia laevis - Stokes Aster
Thalia dealbata - Powdery Thalia for ponds or wetlands, also for Brazilian Skippers
Uniola paniculata - Sea Oats
Vaccinium darrowii - Evergreen blueberry - miniature blueberry with multicolored pastel foliage
Viola sororia - common violet for Variegated Fritillary caterpillars

Wisteria frutescens - native Wisteria for Longtailed Skipper caterpillars
Exotic Carnivorous Houseplants:
Drosera binata

We occasionally do mail order, with a minimum purchase of $20. Seed orders can be as small as $9. This list shows some recommended species we often (but not always) carry during the growing season. Prices usually range from $3 to $15 per pot. Hybrid pitcher plants and other rarities range from $15 to $45.
Butterfly Baby Food Plants and Selected Moth Host Plants are printed in GREEN. Return to top

Native Plant & Wildlife Links:
Alabama Wildflower Watch
Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Florida Wildlife Extension
Frog and Toad Calls!!

Endless Plant Info
Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Stinging Caterpillars of Alabama
Butterflies and Moths of North America
What's That Bug?
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Alabama
Bird Songs, USGS
Florida Bird Songs

What Might You See on a Tour?

Year ‘round you will see well over 100 species of interesting labelled plants and many more yet unmarked. Learn about North American wild edibles, butterfly gardening, wildlife, carnivorous plants, wetland values, and uses for native plants. We'll show you plant and animal artifacts, from magnified butterfly wings to fern fossils. Our carnivorous plant collection includes 7 kinds of pitcher plants, 5 types of sundews, bladderworts and more. In the Plants That Do Tricks department, our sensitive plants respond to touch just as dramatically as the Venus flytraps.

In the warmer seasons, we can explore several ecosystems here and hunt for butterfly eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and adults as you learn about the native plants that attract and feed our local butterflies, hummingbirds, and other animals of interest. You'll be surprised to learn that even some of the trees and grasses in your yard are butterfly baby food. If we have the luck to run across birds, frogs, lizards, etc. your biologist guide will identify them as well as their calls, animal signs, and other curiosities along the way.

Your tour may include walking through a live, hollow gum tree in the Tupelo Swamp. In the growing season, it can take a couple of hours to see it all, but you may choose to do a shorter tour. Tours are for mature six-year-olds on up. This is not for small children. Please wear socks and shoes for the uneven terrain and normal hazards of the wild outdoors, such as ants, briars, and animal holes.

This is NOT a polished, showy garden, but an ongoing endeavor to put nature back into land once stripped bare. Since late 1991, architect Fred Saas, biologist Carol Lovell-Saas, and generous volunteers have worked to restore the swamp, pitcher plant bog, forests and wildflower meadows of the 20-acre Center with hundreds of native southeastern species.

Come see us! Our caterpillar nursery and acres of restored butterfly habitat allow visitors to watch the full life cycle of several species of showy moths and butterflies, spring through fall. Dozens of these species are specific foods for particular butterflies. Native butterfly baby food lists are available to visitors. The library and bookstore provide information on wildlife gardening, local natural history, conservation, and the battle against
invasive pest plants. Visitors can learn to attract and observe wildlife in their own home and school yards. Teachers will find plenty of good reference material for teaching environmental units for all grade levels.

The Biophilia Native Nursery offers hummingbird and butterfly attracting plants, beach wildflowers and sea oats, Venus fly traps, pitcher plants and other carnivorous plants, and other beautiful, unusual, or ancient native species.

YOU CAN HELP! Join the non-profit (but not 501-C) Biophilia Nature Association for $10 per year and receive a biannual newsletter on enjoying nature, gardening for wildlife, environmental issues, and the programs and progress of the Center. Patronize the bookstore and nursery and set up a tour for your club. Always welcome are: volunteers, long-leaf pine straw, caterpillars, and additions to our several-hundred-species native plant collection. Legally rescued bog plants and their seeds are needed to continue restoration of the Biophilia wetlands. Biophilia is centrally located. If you are in Elberta, Lillian, Foley, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fairhope, Daphne, Robertsdale, Summerdale, Loxley, Bay Minette or Mobile, Alabama, or Pensacola, Florida, you need to come visit us and learn more about the natural treasures of the Gulf Coast.
If you would like to support our project without spending any extra money, simply use our link here to find and make your Amazon purchases.

Return to top


We provide a minister for weddings performed on a Gulf Coast beach or at the Biophilia Center in the woods or wildflower meadows. This is a romantic way to elope or have a small informal wedding surrounded by nature. Beach weddings may be held in Florida, or Alabama at Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or other local shores for $200. See . An Alabama marriage license can be purchased at the Baldwin County Courthouse in Bay Minette. Call the courthouse at 251 937-9561 for more details.

How to Plant Sea Oats and other Major Beach Dune Grasses of the Gulf Coast

Sea oats and other coastal plants hold the dunes together! When lost to extreme weather and waves, the plants must be restored or severe beach erosion may continue.
When to plant Sea Oats - Year 'round, according to the University of Florida/Cooperative Extension System Fact Sheet FPS-594.
When to plant Panic Grass (Panicum amarum) and Cord Grass (Spartina spp.) - March through June
How deep to plant - the root crown (just below where leaves emerge) should be 6 to 10 inches below the sand surface
Spacing - 15 to 18 inches apart
When to fertilize - first apply at planting, then make a second application 6 weeks later
Recommended fertilizer - 10-10-10
Call for current prices. If you buy sea oats from Biophilia, you're helping us to restore habitat and continue our educational programs. Thanks for your support!

Return to top

2nd  monarch  2nd
cat cats

Classes & Events - December 2008/January 2008

(If you have a group that wants to do a class on a different date, call us.)
Note: classes aren't listed in exact order due to multiple dates for some classes.
Location: Biophilia Nature Center 12695 County Road 95, Elberta, AL 36530 Contact: Carol Lovell-Saas or 251 987-1200. Map at bottom of this page.

Please call or e-mail ahead to make reservations for any of the following.

Pine Needle Basketmaking 101 (Comprehensive Two-Session Course for Beginners)
This fun, easy, two-part class for beginners (total of six or seven hours) will be offered several times this winter at the Biophilia Nature Center in Elberta, Alabama. All materials are included to make a four-inch wide, two-inch tall basket worth millions of dollars, for a total fee of only $50 per student. If you’d like to make a reservation or just ask questions, reply to this e-mail or call 251 987-1200 and ask for Carol. If you can arrange a full class of six students for another set of dates, I’m willing to drive to your location if it’s within 40 miles of Elberta. If you’d like to set up a different set of dates for a class here at Biophilia, please let me know.

Part I: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 1pm - 4pm    Part II: Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 1pm - 4pm

Lovell-Saas  Lovell-Saas  Lovell-Saas  Lovell-Saas 
Lovell-Saas  Lovell-Saas  Lovell-Saas  Lovell-Saas 

Pine Straw Basketry = Pine Needle Basketry = Pine Straw Weaving = Pine Needle Weaving

pine adv

Pine Needle Basketry is a gorgeous how-to book full of color photographs and is available for $24 including shipping and handling. Mail your check to Biophilia 12695 County Road 95, Elberta, Alabama 36530.

A tip - rubbing alcohol cleans pine sap or resin off of pine straw, skin or hair.

Return to top

Here are some of the WORST INVASIVE PLANTS on our Gulf Coast.

Click on underlined words for images and information about identification and control. A FREE BOOK is available online through this link: Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests or a hard copy can be ordered from the Southern Research Station, P.O. Box 2680, Asheville, NC 28802

Cogongrass , Imperata cylindrica, is one of the WORLD'S worst weeds! Cogon is resistant to most poisons that are used to kill grasses and its roots grow more than 6 inches underground. Cogon shoots can pierce and injure feet right through shoes. Because it burns so quickly and creates such a hot fire, cogon fires can rage out of control and damage trees and plants that would otherwise tolerate or even benefit from a naturally occurring fire.

Chinese Tallow (click on popcorn tree to see the popcorn-like seeds) Sapium sebiferum
Control: Large trees - cut or girdle tree and apply triclopyr (e.g. Garlon 4) to the ring of green living tissue which lies just under the bark. Saplings with trunk diameter 6" or less - Spray triclopyr on bottom 12" of trunk. Seedlings - Spray with glyphosate (e.g. Round-up). Call your local Extension agent for suggested alternatives.

Chinese privet Ligustrum sinense is a formidable pest in Coastal Alabama. Click here for a map of its range.

Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica shades out and destroys natives.

For good images, click on: Japanese Climbing Fern, Lygodium japonicum . Control methods for this invasive fern are described near the end of Dr. James Miller's informative article Controlling Exotic Plants in your Forest.

Kudzu Pueraria lobata
In spite of the fact that EVERYONE knows that kudzu can devour large tracts of land and buildings at a single bound, huge sprawling kudzu patches are allowed to thrive just a couple of miles away from us.

Air Potato, Dioscorea bulbifera is a recent introduction to South Alabama.

Return to top

Our motto is:

November 9, 2013