Grassleaf coneflower is a Florida endemic perennial wildflower. Its brick-red solitary blooms are distinctly different than most Florida Rudbeckia species. It typically flowers in summer and occurs naturally savannas and along moist roadsides.
Marsh gentian (also known as seaside prairie-gentian or catchfly prairie-gentian) is an annual wildflower with showy purple to lavender (or sometimes white) flowers. It can bloom throughout the year and occurs naturally in salt marshes, dunes, and coastal flats.
Lizard’s tail is a perennial aquatic wildflower. Its tiny, white blooms are borne in early spring through summer and attract a variety of pollinators. They are also eaten by foraging ducks such as wood ducks. Both the common and genus name refer to the flower’s resemblance to a lizard’s tail.
Sweet pinxter azalea (also known as mountain azalea) is a deciduous flowering shrub. Its showy pinkish- to rose-colored flowers bloom in spring in pine flatwoods, mesic hammocks, bay swamps, and floodplain and slope forests. They attract a number of pollinators, including hummingbirds.
Manyflower beardtongue (also known as white beardtongue) is a deciduous perennial wildflower with showy white flowers. The common name “beardtongue” refers to the tendency of blooms within the Penstemon genus to have a long, often hairy filament that protrudes from the mouth of the corolla, giving the appearance of a fuzzy tongue.
Parrot pitcherplant is a carnivorous perennial plant. It typically flowers in April and May and occurs naturally in seepage slopes, wet prairies, depression marshes, dome swamps, and bogs. Parrot pitcherplant is a state listed threatened species. Its species name psittacine means “of or relating to parrots” and refers to the shape of the flower resembling the head of a parrot.
Fetterbush (also known as shiny lyonia) is an erect woody evergreen shrub that produces a plethora of small, fragrant blooms in whitish-pink to pink to red. It occurs naturally in pine and scrubby flatwoods, scrub, dry hammocks, dry prairies, and along swamp and cypress pond margins.
American white waterlily (also known as fragrant waterlily) is a floating aquatic plant. Its large, solitary, fragrant white flowers bloom spring through fall in swamps, marshes, slow-moving streams and shallow lakes, ponds and ditches. The flowers are attractive to butterflies, but they are pollinated primarily by beetles.
Rain lily is a short-lived perennial wildflower. Its showy, solitary flowers are white (although sometimes tinged with pink) and, as the name suggests, typically bloom after a rain shower. Flowering can occur in late winter through early summer, but their tendency to bloom around Easter has earned them another common name — Easter lily.
Prairie iris (also known as Dixie iris) is a rhizomatous perennial wildflower with showy purple flowers. They bloom in spring in swamps, wet prairies and marshes, and along the edges of rivers and ditches.
More than 38,000 visitors have had the opportunity to become better acquainted with the beauty and benefit of Florida’s native wildflowers since the establishment of a wildflower demonstration garden at the Pinellas County UF/IFAS Extension in Largo. The garden was funded by a $3,000 grant from the Florida Wildflower Foundation.
It looks like a banner bloom ahead for Florida’s spring wildflowers, thanks to our relatively warm and wet winter months. Here’s a look at what’s happening across the state. See the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s What’s in Bloom page for more blossoms and instructions on how to submit your own spring wildflower photos.
Skyblue lupine is a lovely herbaceous perennial that occurs primarily in scrubby habitats. Its bluish to lavender flowers are born on dense spikes and appear in spring. It occurs naturally in sand and oak scrub, sandhills, pine flatwoods and coastal strands.
Chickasaw plum is a deciduous flowering shrub or small tree that produces profuse white blooms, making for a spectacular early spring display. It occurs naturally in dry hammocks, woodland edges, and disturbed areas and roadsides. The flowers are attractive to pollinators; the fruit is eaten by birds and other wildlife — and humans! (They are quite tart!)