U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ranger Scott Davis has been working on the milkweed restoration initiative since 2015, when he started with a single greenhouse table of seedlings. Since then he has been scouring the state for native milkweed populations and bringing seeds back to the refuge to propagate. He estimates that 300,000 plants have been grown there, which have been planted as part of restoration projects at state parks, state forests and national wildlife refuges across the state. It is no easy task to grow these plants, either.
Read about Escambia County’s new wildflower program, Santa Rosa County’s mowing challenges, spectacular blooms in Jefferson County, Leon County’s City Nature Challenge and much more news from around the Panhandle in the PWA Summer 2019 newsletter.
Gabriel Campbell-Martinez is a graduate research assistant at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center in Milton, Florida, and the 2019 recipient of a graduate assistantship from the Gary Henry Endowment for the Study of Florida Native Wildflowers. The Florida Wildflower Foundation established the endowment to provide scholarships for graduate students studying wildflowers within the University of Florida’s Plant Restoration and Conservation Horticulture Consortium of the Department of Environmental Horticulture.
You might not see very much of the Oak hairstreak butterfly, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t around. They are usually just hanging out in the trees above your head!
Oak hairstreak butterflies prefer the tree canopies of oak woodlands, wooded coastal areas, and oak hammocks. You can find them throughout much of the eastern United States, stretching as far west as New Mexico. They can be identified by the two tails on each hindwing, and have greyish-brown undersides with a blue tail-spot and orange coloring above.
Summer wildflowers will be at their best in South Florida, which suffered little effect from the spring drought that plagued the rest of the state. Here’s a preview of what’s in store across the state and where to look.
Do you enjoy juicy watermelons, local blueberries and strawberries and fresh Florida orange juice? How about carrots, broccoli, almonds and apples? If you do, please thank an insect, especially during National Pollinator Week, June 17-23. Learn more about our pollinators – especially native bees – and why they are so important.
When Scott Davis found a large population of the state-listed endangered Night-blooming petunia (Ruellia noctiflora) growing along US 98, he asked the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to declare it a protected wildflower area. FDOT did. When the construction of the bike trail between Crawfordville and St. Marks was slated to roll right over the plants, Scott planned a rescue operation.
Join us as we explore the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area with local naturalists Mary Keim and Randy Snyder. We will meet in the parking lot just past the pay station. From there, we will caravan along Powerline Road and Fish Hole Road, making several stops to take in the wildflowers, butterflies, birds and beautiful scenery.
Learn how Florida’s Panhandle counties are saving roadside wildflowers, thanks to the work of the Panhandle Wildflower Alliance.
The Fall 2018 Panhandle Wildflower Alliance newsletter features news about life after Hurricane Michael, State Road 65 wildflowers, and Santa Rosa County’s wildflower program and extension garden, as well as a call for volunteers for a planting project.
Goldenrod soldier beetles (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus) are pollinators and predators of pesky garden pests. They are found throughout Florida and most of the United States. Their populations peak in late summer and early fall, perfectly timed with the bloom of goldenrod. These common beetles prefer sunny spots with rich nectar sources, such as gardens, fields and roadsides.
White twinevine is an evergreen twining vine with large clusters of fragrant flowers. It is a larval host plant for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies and an important nectar source for bees and wasps. Flowers typically bloom in summer and fall, but may bloom throughout the year. The plant occurs naturally in swamps, moist hammocks, coastal strands and wetland edges.
Fewflower milkweed is a delicate perennial wildflower found in swamps and moist to wet pinelands and prairies throughout Florida. Its stunning orange to red flowers typically bloom late spring through fall.
2018 has been a great year for wildflowers, and summer looks to be no exception. Unlike last summer, when many areas were dry, rain has been frequent enough to keep wildflowers blooming in showy displays. Learn where to find the best of summer’s showy displays.
Milkweed is critical food for Monarch larva. Photo by John Flannery View as a PDF The Monarch butterfly is in peril Throughout Florida and the United States, habitat loss, the wide use of herbicides and genetically modified crops, and frequent roadside mowing have decreased milkweeds (Asclepias species), the Monarch’s host plant. As a result, the…