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.
Eastern purple bladderwort (Utricularia purpurea) is an aquatic carnivorous plant found in wetlands, freshwater swamps and shallow ponds and lakes throughout Florida. Its small but showy lavender flowers bloom year-round. This highly specialized plant feeds on insects and other small organisms caught in its bladder-like trap. Unsuspecting prey brush against tiny hairs that trigger a trapdoor. As the door closes, the organism and water are sucked into the bladder. With the bladder full and the door closed, the plant releases enzymes to digest the organism.
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.