Hairy chaffhead (Carphephorus paniculatus) by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Hairy chaffhead

Hairy chaffhead (Carphephorus paniculatus) is a stunning perennial wildflower found in moist flatwoods and savannas where it tends to form large colonies. It typically blooms from late August through December, with peak flowering in October. Its beautiful fuschia flowers provide nectar for butterflies.

Flaxleaf aster (Ionactis linariifolia) by Eleanor Dietrich

Flower Friday: Flaxleaf aster

Flaxleaf aster (Ionactis linariifolia) is a petite perennial wildflower that occurs in the sandhill and pine flatwoods communities of Florida’s Panhandle. It blooms primarily in October and November, but may bloom as early as September. The flowers attract a variety of pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies.

Maryland goldenaster (Chrysopsis mariana) by Peg Urban

Flower Friday: Maryland goldenaster

Florida has 11 native Goldenaster species, eight of which are endemic; several are listed by the state as rare or endangered. Maryland goldenaster (Chrysopsis mariana) is found in pinelands, sandhills and sandy roadsides. Native butterflies, as well as a variety of native long-tongued bees – including green metallic, sweat, leafcutter, bumble and mining bees – are attracted to the plant’s nectar.  The flowers bloom in spring, summer and fall.

Know your native pollinators: Gulf fritillary

The Gulf fritillary is sometimes known as the Passion butterfly — so named because of its ardor for Passionflower. You will find so much to love about this unique pollinator!

Gulf fritillaries are medium-sized butterflies with elongated forewings that live in the extreme southern United States. Outside of the U.S., they are a broad-ranging species, found throughout Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and into South America.Gulf fritillaries enjoy a variety of habitat including sunny roadsides, disturbed areas, edges, fields, pastures, woodlands, second-growth semitropical forests and urban areas like parks and yards. You may even find them blithely floating around your butterfly garden.

 

Rudbeckia mollis

Flower Friday: Softhair coneflower

Softhair coneflower (Rudbeckia mollis) is a robust plant with bright yellow blooms that provide late spring and summer color to sandhills, dry open hammocks and roadsides in North and Central Florida. Butterflies and Halictid bees nectar on the flowers, while small birds enjoy eating the seeds. Use it in a mixed wildflower planting or in the back of a planting where its height can be appreciated. It is drought tolerant and requires little to no maintenance once established. It does not tolerate prolonged shade. Although the plant typically perishes after it blooms, it is a prolific self-seeder and can produce many seedlings.

Tachinid fly by Jonnie Dietz

Know your native pollinators: Tachinid flies

With over 1,300 species in North America alone, Tachinid flies are an extremely diverse group, yet they are often overlooked. Once you spot one, however, you’re likely to start recognizing them everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled on both flowers and foliage for these hairy pollinators. Tachinid fly larvae are known parasitoids of many nuisance bugs. How they enter their hosts varies, but once inside, all tachinid larvae begin to consume their host internally. This may sound like a Halloween horror story, but Tachinid larvae are great at keeping garden pests in check.

Feay's palafoxia (Palafoxia_feayi). Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Flower Friday: Feay’s palafox

Feay’s palafox (Palafoxia feayi) is a very unique wildflower, endemic only to Florida’s central and southern peninsula. Although it is a member of the Aster family, it bears few visual similarities. It is more woody than herbaceous; its blooms are without the petal-like ray florets; and its disk florets are tubular.

Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Seaside goldenrod

The conspicuous golden blooms of Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) can be seen on dunes, in tidal marshes and bogs, in sandy flatwoods, along roadsides, and in disturbed areas in Florida’s coastal counties. It attracts butterflies and other pollinators with its nectar, and also attracts birds that are searching for insects.

Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) by Agnieszka Kwiecień, CC-BY 3.0

Flower Friday: Common sneezeweed

Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is an herbaceous perennial with cheerful yellow flowers. It typically blooms spring through fall, attracting moths, butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. It occurs naturally in floodplain forests, wet flatwoods, bluffs, mesic hammocks, bogs, savannas and swamps.

Snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea) by Eleanor Dietrich

Flower Friday: Snow squarestem

Snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea) is a robust bushy wildflower that occurs naturally in dry to moist flatwoods, prairies and disturbed open habitats. It typically blooms summer through early winter, but can bloom year-round, attracting bees, butterflies and other pollinators. It’s also known as Cat’s tongue, Salt and pepper and Nonpareil.