About our
research program

The Florida Wildflower Foundation is dedicated to increasing knowledge of Florida’s native wildflowers through research.

Studies have delved into everything from seed germination to propagation methods and conditions. Researchers have also combed roadsides throughout the state to document natural wildflower populations and record the species that occur, their health and exact locations.

Polygonella robusta


Alison Heather, UF/IFAS Masters student, collects seeds of Polygonella robusta in Jonathan Dickison State Park for her research project.

Digging for scientific literature

The Foundation is conducting an ongoing literature search that has collected research on more than 260 Florida species, including many that also occur in the Southeastern United States. The resulting database provides more of a comprehensive picture of what we know and where other research is needed. It offers the opportunity for anyone – from researcher to layman – to search for data useful in such areas as conservation or restoration, or in other research projects.

Because of the unique nature of the dataset, national organizations, such as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas, have expressed interest in linking to the database. Conversely, the Foundation's searchable tool provides access to records regarding each species in other national databases, such as the USDA library.

Look for results of the literature survey in our Wildflower Literature.

Flag Iris seen at 6 Mile Slough in Leed County

Sponsored research highlights


3-season surveys cultivate wildflower tourism

Beginning in 2009, Foundation-sponsored researchers began mapping Florida's wildflower populations through road- and trailside surveys in spring, summer and fall. The effort began in 2009 along the St. Johns River to the Sea Loop. In 2010-11, the Eastern Panhandle, Big Bend region, and Corkscrew Swamp vicinity were surveyed.

Blackeyed Susans in Suwannee County

The goal of this research, conducted by Drs. Jeff Norcini and Gil Nelson, is to document natural and planted populations while defining routes where motorists, cyclists and hikers can view showy stands of native wildflowers typical of a region. The work is helping to establish wildflower tourism as an ecotourism opportunity. Maps of sightings will help residents and visitors look for and learn about Florida's native wildflowers while helping to promote their planting, preservation and enjoyment.

Download the Panhandle, Big Bend and Corkscrew reports and wildflower routes below.

Wildflower Survey, 2010: Panhandle, Norcini, Nelson

2010 Panhandle Route

Wildflower Survey, 2010: Big Bend, Norcini, Nelson.

2010 Big Bend Route

Wildflower Survey, 2010: Corkscrew Swamp, Norcini, Nelson

2010 Corkscrew Swamp Route

Four types of sites were documented:

  1. Enhancement – Has (or has the potential to be) substantial, aesthetically pleasing impact and, if managed appropriately, the existing native wildflower species should be sustainable, and the extent of species will probably expand.
  2. View only – Sites that are not managed by county or FDOT roadside departments (or contractors), such as those on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
  3. New planting – Sites suitable for establishing a native wildflower planting that would have substantial, aesthetically-pleasing impact.
  4. Do not develop – Sites unsuitable for a native wildflower site because of nonnative, invasive species or presence of subcanopy adjacent to mowed strips on each side of pavement along paved off-road portions of the trail.

The investigators recorded plant species found at promising sites; for new planting sites they recommended commercially available, showy native wildflowers and grass species suitable for site conditions and consistent with "sense of place."

They also recorded anecdotal observations from residents and visitors. For example:

"One of the most spectacular wildflower displays I’ve seen is around the time of Mother’s Day in Hampton, Florida. It is at an older frame house just on the southern outskirts of Hampton on County Road 18. I’m sorry I don’t have a house address, but this town has only a few buildings on “Main Street,” which is County Road 18...The display of mostly coreopsis is located in a pecan grove, but extends to the road. My daughter, who lives nearby, tells me that it is a traditional site for graduating high school seniors of the high school in Starke to have their photos taken."
Research Reports

Research on the Bike Loop revealed Florida wildflowers

St. Johns River to the Sea Loop Spring, Summer and Fall wildflower surveys and recommendations, Norcini, Nelson.

Three seasons of research along the St. Johns River to the Sea Loop revealed areas where wildflowers are taking hold and where they can be enhanced. The 260-mile multi-use trail is in Putnam, Volusia, Brevard, Flagler and St. Johns counties.

2009 Report (PDF)
Bike Loop Map (PDF)
Bike Loop Sites (excel file)
Bike Loop Species (excel file)

Other sponsored research reports:

Working in the field

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.