eryngium-aquaticum

Interesting Eryngiums

You may know this group of plants as “rattlesnakemasters.” Although not widely grown for landscape use, these perennial plants can be found across Florida in a variety of habitats. I love the diversity of these plants, as well as their interesting flowers that occur in summer and fall. They are always a little hard to describe because the heads are comprised of many tiny flowers, but their unique blooms, which may last for several months, are best captured in photos.

Flower Friday: Butterfly milkweed

Butterfly milkweed is a perennial that produces large, showy clusters of bright orange to reddish flowers from spring through fall. It occurs naturally in sandhills, pine flatwoods, and other sandy uplands as well as along sunny roadsides. It is an exception to the Asclepias genus in that its stem does not contain the milky latex that distinguishes the rest of the genus and gives it the common name “milkweed.”

Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Partridge pea

Partridge pea flowers in the summer to late fall, and year-round in southern Florida. It occurs naturally in scrub, sandhill, flatwoods, beach dunes and disturbed areas. The blooms attract mostly bees and butterflies, although ants are also attracted to the nectar glands. It is the host plant to several species of butterfly, including the gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus) and cloudless sulfur (Phoebis sennae).

Tarflower (Bejaria racemosa). Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Tarflower

Tarflower is a woody evergreen shrub with showy white to pinkish flowers. It occurs naturally in scrub, pine flatwoods and scrubby flatwoods and is found in most of peninsular Florida, but its native range does not extend into the Panhandle. It gets its common name from its sticky flowers that attract and then trap bees, flies and other insects.

Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella) Photo by Jeff Norcini

Flower Friday: Blanketflower

Blanketflower, also known as Indian blanket or firewheel, is a brightly colored herbaceous wildflower that blooms in spring, summer and into fall in North Florida, and year-round in Central and South Florida. It occurs naturally in dry savannahs, coastal dunes and other dry, open areas. The blooms attract a variety of pollinators.

Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan) on Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentals). Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Buttonbush

Buttonbush is a large wetland shrub that produces many globular, white flowers with protruding pistils that give them a pincushion-like appearance. It occurs naturally in wetlands and along stream and river edges. The flowers attract many bees, butterflies and moths; the seeds are eaten by ducks and other birds; and the foliage is browsed by deer.

String lily (Crinum americanum). Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Flower Friday: String lily

Also known as seven sisters or swamp lily, string lily is an erect, emergent perennial with showy, fragrant blooms. It is found in wet hammocks, marshes, swamps, wetland edges, and along streams and rivers throughout Florida and the southeast United States. The bulbs and leaves are poisonous to humans, but are a favorite treat of lubber grasshoppers.

Marsh-pink (Sabatia grandiflora). Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Marsh-pink

Also known as largeflower rosegentian, marsh-pink is a beautiful herbaceous wildflower found in mesic pine flatwoods and wet prairies throughout Florida. In northern Florida, its showy blooms appear in summer, but it can bloom year-round in southern Florida. It is almost endemic, occurring in only one county in Alabama outside of the state of Florida.