Date Posted: May 27, 2016
Another great Florida native for shady landscapes is swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum). Its beautiful blooms are sweetly fragrant and attract many pollinators, including hummingbirds. It occurs naturally in wet flatwoods, seep and bay swamps and along lake margins.
The genus Rhododendron comes from the Greek rhodon, or “rose,” and dendron, or “tree.” The species viscosum refers to the viscous glands that occur on the flower tube.
This photo was taken by Stacey Matrazzo in the Ocala National Forest.
Learn more about Florida's only white-flowering and summer-blooming azalea on our blog.
Date Posted: May 20, 2016
Southern beeblossom (Oenothera simulans) is an erect herbaceous annual that produces wandlike spikes of fuzzy, reddish-pink buds that open in the evening as delicate white four-petaled blossoms. They turn pink the following day and then wither away.
Southern beeblossom occurs naturally along roadsides and in pinelands, open woods and sandy fields. It flowers spring through summer and attracts a wide range of small pollinators, including moths and bees. Its flowers open at night (hence the family name, evening primrose), so only pollinators that forage at night can pollinate them. Birds have been known to eat Southern beeblossom seeds.
Read more about this night bloomer on our blog.
Date Posted: May 11, 2016
The bright yellow flowers of pricklypear cactus attract a wide range of pollinators, especially native bees. The fleshy fruits and seeds are eaten by birds, small mammals and gopher tortoises (who also enjoy browsing the pads).
Pricklypear cactus fruits and young pads are also edible to humans (once they have been carefully de-bristled). The ripe fruits can be eaten raw or used to make juice, jam or syrup. The pads or nopales can be sautéed or grilled.
Read more about this spinose succulent on our blog.
Photo by Stacey Matrazzo.
Date Posted: May 06, 2016
Mock bishopsweed (Ptilimnium capillaceum) is a delicate little annual that is too often disregarded as a weed. But despite its small stature, it is both attractive and ecologically beneficial, especially when it occurs in mass. Its many dainty white flowers are born in compound umbels that are encircled at their base by threadlike bracts. Though the flowers are tiny, the nectar is easily accessible to many pollinators, including flies and wasps. It is also the larval host plant for the black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) butterfly.
Learn all about mock bishopsweed on our blog.
Photo by: Stacey Matrazzo.
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