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

 The Bloom Report

 

Butterflies rule the fall months

Pollinators and the native plants that support them have come to the forefront this year. The showiest of the pollinators are the butterflies, which often are seen flitting around native wildflowers. While large butterflies like swallowtails can be seen along the roadside while traveling, the smaller ones - skippers, hairstreaks, blues and such - are often only seen when walking.

 Many native fall-blooming wildflowers serve as nectar or host plants for our butterflies and their larvae, and some serve as both. Host plants attract females, which attract males, so wildflowers that serve as both would be expected to have a flurry of butterfly activity. The most common of these dual-purpose native wildflowers is beggarticks (Bidens alba). It is very common in disturbed areas and a “sure thing” if you want to see butterflies - especially monarchs during their annual migration south. Other common statewide fall wildflowers that serve as host and nectar plants include false foxgloves (Agalinis), swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), narrowleaf silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia), pine barren goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa) and blazing stars (Liatris). That includes the towering dense blazing star (L. spicata), which occurs in wet areas and always seems to have swallowtails fluttering about.

 Also look for butterflies in the vicinity of native grasses, including bluestems (Andropogon) and lopsided Indiangrass (Sorghastrum secundum), which are host plants.

For more information about Florida natives that are host and nectar plants, see Butterfly Gardening in Florida by Jaret Daniels, Joe Schaefer, Craig Huegel and Frank Mazzotti.

                                                                                       - Jeff Norcini

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!