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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Spring and fall wildflowers can be spectacular with a plethora of yellow and purple flowers, but summer seems to offer a wider diversity of colorful, showy wildflowers along roadsides:
Often, two or three or more of these wildflowers occur together, making the aesthetic impact all the more impressive. Many of these species occur in moist swales and ditches along roadsides in rural areas, especially roadsides adjacent to natural areas and in pine forests maintained by burning.
Coastal areas and beaches are also a good place to see summer blooms, such as blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella), dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis), railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis), seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), and spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata).
When you are out and about, enjoying the summer 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 in the Foundation’s shop, or from the Florida Wildflower Growers Cooperative. 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’ website.
Take Action: Contact your county maintenance yard supervisor to ask that wildflowers in specific locations be spared. On state and U.S. highways, contact your Florida Department of Transportation District Wildflower Coordinator. Click here to find your District Wildflower Coordinator.
Photo by Jeff Norcini.
See details about these routes.
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.
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:
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.