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

 Summer wildflower viewing

Lanceleaf milkweed

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:

  • the white flowers of shortleaf rosegentian (Sabatia brevifolia) with a whiteness that seems to rival that of high-quality, bright white paper;
  • the exquisite beauty of the satiny pink rosegentians like largeflower rosegentian (Sabatia grandiflora);
  • the stunning blues of skyflower (Hydrolea corymbosa) and blue sage (Salvia azurea);
  • the brilliant yellows of milkworts — tall pinebarren milkwort (Polygala cymosa) and low pinebarren milkwort (Polygala ramosa);
  • the vivid oranges of fewflower milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata) (pictured above) and butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) that are easily spotted from a distance (in what other season is it so easy to see orange wildflowers?);
  • the vibrant red of scarlet hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) with its huge flowers, and the regal red of cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis), whose flowers can be easily seen from a distance.

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.

 

View wildflowers along these routes, developed by the Foundation:

See details about these routes.

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!