Be a Wildflower Watcher

Thanks to photos submitted by Wildflower Watchers, our seasonal map shows a sampling of what's blooming across the state. Here's how to share your photos.

Where can I
find wildflowers?

Wildflower hotspots include highways managed by FDOT, such as Florida's Turnpike and Interstates 75, 95 and 4. Many rural roads, especially in the Panhandle and Big Bend, also are known for abundant blooms.

Other places to see wildflowers:

Statewide

 North Florida

  • Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna
  • Big Bend Scenic Byway
  • State Road 65, between Telogia and Sumatra
  • State Road 9A, between Gate Parkway and Baymeadows Road, Duval County
  • State Road 26, west of Gainesville
  • State Road 100, Keystone Heights; also between Bunnell and Palatka
  • State Road 228, just north of State Road 23, Duval County
  • State Road 500/ U.S. Highway Alt. 27, Chiefland to Williston
  • U.S. Highway 27, from north end of Perry for about 3-4 miles
  • U.S. Highway 27, Suwannee County
  • U.S. Highway 27/98, Dixie and Levy County
  • U.S. Highway 90, between Lake City and Live Oak
  • U.S. Highway 301 at the Florida/Georgia border, Nassau County

Central Florida

 South Florida

 Spring blooms - get the blues

Blue flag iris The mild winter, adequate rain, and a warm beginning to spring has many wildflowers blooming a couple of weeks earlier than normal, the same as last spring. Expect the trend of earlier than normal flowering to continue, as this spring may be warmer and wetter than normal, according to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

 A warmer than normal spring is not what many Floridians want to hear, as that implies an early start to summer weather. For some relief, think cool, as in the cool color of blue spring wildflowers. And by blue, think true blue.

Below are some native wildflowers that are true blue (no hint of purple), as well those that can vary from true blue to purplish (or even white). Wildflowers that occur throughout the state will bloom earlier in South Florida than in North Florida. Most of the native wildflowers in this list occur on roadsides.

Why are photos of some blue flowers in text books not blue? In many wildflower textbooks, the photos of true blue flowers often are purplish or magenta. This is caused by the ageratum effect. Some true blue flowers reflect infrared radiation that we cannot see but that color films are sensitive to. In a photo, varying amounts of red are mixed with blue, resulting in purple to magenta flowers. The shade of purple or magenta depends on the flower as well as the type of film.

 

Species

Color

Main bloom time

Region of state;

Habitat

Amsonia cilata
Fringed bluestar

True blue to nearly white

Early to
mid-spring

N, C

Dry, sandy areas

Commelina erecta Whitemouth dayflower

True blue

Late spring

N, C, S

Dry, sandy areas

Iris hexagona
Dixie iris

True blue

Mid-spring

N, C, S

Moist areas

Iris virginica

Blue flag iris

True blue

Mid-spring

N, C

Moist areas

Linaria canadensis

Blue toadflax

True blue, purplish

Late winter to early spring

N, C, S

Dry to slightly dry

Lobelia feayana

Bay lobelia

True blue to purplish

Early to
mid-spring

N (Madison County and east), C, S

Moist areas

Lupinus diffusus

Skyblue lupine

True blue

Late winter to early spring

N (western panhandle and peninsula), C, S

Dry, sandy areas

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass

True blue, purplish, white

Late winter to mid-spring

N, C, S

Moist areas

Sisyrinchium nashii

Jeweled blue-eyed grass

True blue

Early spring

N, C, S

Dry, sandy areas

Sisyrinchium xerophyllum

Jeweled blue-eyed grass

True blue

Early to
mid-spring

N, C, S

Dry, sandy areas

Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

Blue porterweed

True blue, purplish

All year

C, S

Dry, sandy areas

Tradescantia ohiensis

Ohio spiderwort

True blue, purplish, white

Late winter to late spring

N, C

Slightly dry to slightly moist areas

Tradescantia hirsutiflora

Hairyflower spiderwort

True blue, rose

Late winter to late spring

N (Panhandle)

Dry, sandy areas

View wildflowers along these routes, developed by the Foundation:

See details about these routes.

Photo by Katherine Edison

no mow sign

Florida's roadside program

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, whichplants wildflowers and maintains 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. 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.


Jeff_Norcini_Liatris

Click it, don't pick it!

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. Instead, use wildflowers in your yard or in containers. Seed packets are available in the Florida Wildflower Foundation Flower Shop and from the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association.  Florida native wildflower seed packets also may be available at native plant garden centers.

More reasons not to pick wildflowers:

  • Picking the flowers of any endangered or threatened species is illegal in Florida. For details, see Florida Statute 581.185 Preservation of native flora of Florida.
  • Stopping along a roadside to pick wildflowers can be hazardous to you and other motorists.
 
 
 

The Florida Wildflower Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization; contributions are tax deductible. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR THE FLORIDA WILDFLOWER FOUNDATION, A FLORIDA-BASED NONPROFIT CORPORATION (REGISTRATION NO. CH12319), MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR VISITING THEIR WEBSITE HERE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.

Florida Wildflowers Group Pool on Flickr

Do you love Florida's native wildflowers? The Florida Wildflower Foundation invites you to share your photos of them, join in discussions and learn more about wildflowers' role in the ecosystems of La Florida, land of flowers.

Enjoy the full-size group pool slideshow!