Florida betony (Stachys floridana) often gets a bad rap because it spreads so prolifically, especially in moist turf lawns. But it is a wonderful native wildflower for attracting bees and butterflies, and is also almost entirely edible to humans.
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.
Small butterwort (Pinguicula pumila) is a diminutive, insectivorous wildflower found in wet pinelands and prairies throughout most of Florida. It blooms winter through spring. The genus name Pinguicula comes from the Latin pinguis, meaning “fat.” It alludes to the viscous or greasy feeling of the leaf surface. The species epithet pumila is from the Latin pumilus, or “dwarf.”
Given the chance of above-normal temperatures and rain throughout the state, expect a good spring show of native wildflowers through May, with some of the typical summer flowering species popping early.
Blueflower butterwort (Pinguicula caerulea) is an insectivorous wildflower that typically blooms between January and May. It occurs naturally in bogs and low pinelands throughout much of the Florida peninsula. It is a state-threatened species and is susceptible to drought conditions, drainage, habitat loss and illegal collection.
Violet butterwort (Pinguicula ionantha) is a rare insectivorous wildflower. That’s right — it eats insects! Hairs on its leaf surface secrete a sticky substance in which insects become trapped. Enzymes are then secreted to help the plant digest the insects. The ability to trap and digest insects allows violet butterwort (like most insectivorous plants) to survive in nutrient-deficient conditions. It typically blooms between February and April, but you have to go to the Panhandle to see it as it is endemic to only Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Liberty and Wakulla counties.
Yellow butterwort (Pinguicula lutea) is a perennial carnivorous plant. Its solitary blooms appear in late winter into spring. It occurs naturally in wet pine flatwoods, wet prairies and seepage slopes. It prefers a drier environment compared with other native Pinguicula. It a state-listed threatened species.