Baldwin’s milkwort (Polygala balduinii) is one of only a few white milkworts found in Florida. It typically blooms spring through fall and occurs naturally in wet pine flatwoods, marshes and coastal swales.
Lewton’s milkwort (Polygala lewtonii) is a state-endangered wildflower endemic to only six counties in Central Florida. It occurs in scrub, sandhill and pine barren habitats where maintenance includes a regular fire regime. It blooms in late winter and spring, attracting a variety of pollinators, especially leafcutter bees, hover flies and bee flies.
Despite its common name, Showy milkwort (Asemeia violacea) is a diminutive herbaceous wildflower with small flowers that are borne somewhat sparsely on terminal racemes. It is a summer-bloomer, but can bloom year-round in the southern part of the state. The flowers are attractive to bees, the plant’s primary pollinator. Showy milkwort occurs naturally in pinelands, prairies and open disturbed areas throughout Florida.
Also known as Rugel’s milkwort, Yellow milkwort (Polygala rugelii) is an annual herbaceous wildflower endemic to the Florida peninsula. Its showy flowers bloom primarily in summer and fall, but may appear throughout most of the year. It occurs naturally in wet pine flatwoods.
Drought may develop over the next few months from North Central Florida to South Florida, according to the Climate Prediction Center, so the time is now for spring wildflower viewing. Look for the best native wildflower displays in wet areas and shallow water.
Eastern false dragonhead (Physostegia purpurea) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower found in moist to wet pinelands and marsh and swamp edges throughout much of Florida. It blooms late spring through early fall and is especially attractive to bees, although butterflies and the occasional hummingbird are known to visit it. The seeds are eaten by birds.
Kim and Peter Connolly have been active members of the Florida Wildflower Foundation and have attended various Foundation field trips and events for the past three years.They are both Florida Master Naturalists, with Peter serving his third year on the board of the Space Coast Chapter. Their free time is spent documenting local flora and fauna for iNaturalist. To date, they have added 907 observations of unique species to the site.
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.
Many of Florida’s spring native wildflowers have large, showy flowers –– such as Iris and Purple thistle. But some common ones may be underappreciated because their flowers are small, near the ground, or just positioned on the stem where they may be hard to see. However, they are quite beautiful when viewed close up.
Candyroot (Polygala nana) is an annual herbaceous wildflower found in wet to moist pine flatwoods, wet prairies and coastal swales. It typically blooms in late spring through summer, but can bloom year-round.
It looks like a banner bloom ahead for Florida’s spring wildflowers, thanks to our relatively warm and wet winter months. Here’s a look at what’s happening across the state. See the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s What’s in Bloom page for more blossoms and instructions on how to submit your own spring wildflower photos.
Drumheads (Polygala cruciata) is a low-growing wildflower that blooms from late spring through fall. They occur naturally throughout most of Florida in wet pinelands, savannas and other open wetland habitats, as well as along marsh edges. The name Polygala comes from the Greek polys, meaning “many or much,” and gala, meaning “milk.” It is so-named because it was once believed that the presence of Polygala species in cow fields would result in higher milk production.
Spring and fall wildflowers can be spectacular with a plethora of yellow and purple flowers, but summer seems to offer a wider diversity of colorful, showy wildflowers along roadsides.