Date Posted: Jul 22, 2016
Black swallowtail caterpillars can't get enough of spotted water hemlock (Cicuta maculatum), a member of the carrot family. But don't get any ideas for yourself -- this robust wetland wildflower contains cicutoxin, a poisonous compound that can fatally disrupt our central nervous systems if ingested. It is also known by the more telling common names of beaver poison and suicide root.
Learn more about this pernicious plant on our blog.
Photo by Mary Keim.
Date Posted: Jul 15, 2016
Also known as bear’s foot, hairy leafcup (Smallanthus uvedalia) is an uncommon herbaceous perennial with bright yellow blooms. It occurs naturally in upland hardwood forests, slope forests, upland mixed woodlands, and moist shaded hammocks. It typically blooms in summer and attracts a variety of bees and other pollinators.
In the early 1900s, a tincture was made from hairy leafcup's roots and marketed as "Brooks' Bears-foot Ointment." Click here to learn more about this plant's amazing medicinal powers!
Photo by R.W. Smith, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Date Posted: Jul 08, 2016
Pitted stripeseed (Piriqueta cistoides subsp. caroliniana) gets it common name from -- you guessed it -- the striped depressions on its seeds! This cheerful little flower is found in the open, sandy areas of pine flatwoods and sandhills throughout Florida.
Because its blooms are small (about 3/4" in diameter), it attracts the tinier bees and butterflies. Gulf fritillary butterflies may use this wildflower as a host plant as it is chemically similar to the fritillaries’ primary host plants, passionvines. Rabbits also like to nibble on the foliage.
Learn more about this bright bloomer on our blog.
Photo by Wayne Matchett.
Date Posted: Jul 01, 2016
Baldwin’s eryngo is a deciduous perennial (sometimes biennial) wildflower with a prostrate, vine-like growth habit. You’ll rarely notice it as you drive along the highway, but it can form a large sprawling groundcover, providing a hazy, light blue understory to other wildflowers.
According to Florida ethnobotanist Dan Austin, Baldwin’s eryngo was used as a breath freshener with aphrodisiac influence. A candy version was referred to as “kissing comfits.”
Learn more about this interesting and often overlooked wildflower on our blog.
Photo by Craig Huegel.
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