Wildflowers do much more than give La Florida, the “land of flowers,” its unique sense of place.
Because they’ve adapted to Florida’s conditions and pests, they typically require less water, fertilizer and pesticides than other flowers. They also support myriad native wildlife, from bees to hummingbirds.
Also known as largeflower jointweed, sandhill wireweed (Polygonella robusta) is a deciduous woody shrub that produces an abundance of spike-like flowering clusters.
It is typically a summer and fall bloomer, with October being its most abundant blooming time, but many of these plants were blossoming last weekend at Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park in Polk County.
Sandhill wireweed occurs naturally in dunes, scrub and sandhills, and is primarily pollinated by bees. Its seeds are eaten by birds. It is endemic to Florida, occurring nowhere else in the world.
Tread-softly's common name is also a warning to heedless handlers. As its name suggests, one must tread softly around it or else risk being stung by the many stinging hairs that cover its leaves, stems, seeds and even flowers. The hairs contain an irritant that can cause a rash in some people.
It’s easy to see how tread-softly gets its common name, and its scientific name is just as telling. The genus Cnidoscolus is derived from the Greek cnid, meaning “nettle” and scolus, meaning “thorn.” The species epithet comes from the Latin stimul, meaning “to goad, prod or urge,” as in a “stimulus.”
Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation for an interactive edible plant walk at Lake County's PEAR Park on Saturday, March 5 from 10 a.m. until noon.
On this leisurely walk, we will taste, touch and smell some of the native plants growing in PEAR Park's native plant demonstration garden and learn which are edible, which have medicinal properties and which have cultural and historical importance.more...
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