Wildflower lovers are building a statewide profile of what can be seen along the highways and in gardens and natural areas. You can join in—all you need is a digital camera, a map or GPS unit and a field guide.
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Florida’s Quincentennnial is winding down, but not the beauty of Florida’s fall wildflowers. In the spirit of Florida’s 500th anniversary, let's learn about fall-blooming Tickseeds (Coreopsis), our state wildflower.
Four of our native Tickseeds bloom in the fall. All occur in moist areas, with rural areas being the best place to find them, especially along roads in state and national forests:
Florida Tickseed (Coreopsis floridana): This endemic species occurs throughout the state, although it tends to be more common in the peninsula. It strongly resembles Coastalplain Tickseed and is thought to be a hybrid of Coastalplain Tickseed and Texas Tickseed. Deer prefer Florida Tickseed and may browse it nearly to the ground.
Coastalplain Tickseed (Coreopsis gladiata): This species occurs from the Panhandle to South-Central Florida but tends to be more common in the Panhandle. Some plants have small brownish-red spots at the base of the petals. While the spots do not add to the flower's showiness, they can be used to distinguish Coastalplain Tickseed and Florida Tickseed. Deer like this species, too.
Fringeleaf or Chipola Tickseed (Coreopsis integrifolia, right): Endangered in Florida, this species has been documented in only Calhoun, Jackson, Nassau, St. Johns and Washington counties. "Chipola" refers to the Panhandle's Chipola River, along which it's known to occur. Deer also have a taste for this species.
Texas Tickseed (Coreopsis linifolia): While the common name refers to Texas, it is native here as well. It occurs mainly in the Panhandle - Escambia County east to Leon County; however, it's also found in Duval and Nassau counties. While it resembles Leavenworth’s Tickseed (C. leavenworthii), Texas Tickseed's leaves have tiny black dots that can be seen when leaves are back-lighted and closely viewed.
The abundance of rain this summer should result in widespread showy displays this fall, not only of these species but of native wildflowers and grasses, in general. The best wildflower viewing will be in moist sites in rural areas – ditches, swales, rural prairies, marshes, lakes and ponds rural areas.
Florida Wildflower Foundation Florida Wildflowers Flickr group Currently, there are 25 members – all wonderful photographers. Besides identifying the wildflowers, participating photographers usually provide the location and date. To find summer images, search by month. For example, to find June wildflower images, type “June” in the search box. The most active Flickr contributors with summer wildflowers are:
Eleanor Dietrich - Many images of SR 65 in the Apalachicola National Forest
Mary Keim - Includes images of many native butterflies, bees, and insects on wildflowers
Please don’t pick wildflowers. If you want to preserve the memory of a wildflower, take a picture – it will last longer. Many of our native wildflowers reproduce only by seed. Picking flowers reduces the ability of plants to sustain the population.
If you want to pick wildflowers, grow some in your yard or in containers on your patio or porch. Wildflower seed packets are available from the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association; click here for seed packet availability and ordering. Native wildflower plants and seeds are also available at garden centers and nurseries specializing in Florida native plants. Visit the Florida Association of Native Nurseries website to find a nearby grower or garden center.
Finally, if you’ve snapped a photo of summer’s native wildflowers, please share it with others for posting on this page. Click here for submission instructions.
Take Action: Contact your county maintenance yard supervisor to ask that wildflowers in specific locations be spared. On federal and U.S. highways, contact your Florida Department of Transportation district office. To find your district, visit www.dot.state.fl.us/publicinformationoffice/moreDOT/districts/district.shtm.
Florida's garden clubs led the way in beautifying roadways with wildflowers. In the 1960s, the Florida Department of Transportation joined the effort. FDOT now has its own wildflower program (download policy), which is planting wildflowers and maintaining natural populations along hundreds of miles of federal and state highways.
Counties and cities can establish or care for wildflowers along roads and trails and in parks they maintain, too. They also can request that FDOT plant wildflowers and alter mowing practices within their boundaries.
Want more wildflowers along roadsides and multi-use trails near you? Learn about a resolution that is the first step to preserving and planting wildflowers in your county. Read more.
When you are out and about enjoying the spring beauty that Mother Nature has blessed us with, please don’t pick wildflowers. If you want to preserve the memory of a wildflower, take a picture – it will last longer. Many of our native wildflowers reproduce only by seed. Picking a flower reduces the ability of that plant to reproduce and for that population of wildflowers to sustain itself. If you want to pick wildflowers, plant some in your yard or in containers on your patio or porch. Wildflower seed packets are available from the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association. Click here for seed packet availability and ordering. Seed packets of Florida native wildflowers also may be available at garden centers specializing in Florida native plants. To find a native garden center near you, visit the Florida Association of Native Nurseries’ Web site.
More reasons not to pick wildflowers: