White lobelia is a winsome, wet-loving wildflower found in swamps and wet flatwoods throughout much of Florida. It primarily blooms in spring and summer, but may bloom year-round, especially in South Florida. The flowers attract bees and butterflies. The genus Lobelia is named for Matthias de Lobel (1538-1616), a Flemish physician, botanist and author of a landmark botany textbook. The species epithet paludosa is from the Latin paludosus, meaning boggy, swampy or marshy.
Join us on our Sept. 7 service project as we visit and help protect Seminole State Forest’s Warea Tract. We will be removing invasive Natal grass and learning about the importance of the tract from Forester Mike Martin. The Warea Tract holds many threatened and endangered species we may have the opportunity to see, including Florida bonamia (Bonamia grandiflora), Lewton’s polygala (Polygala lewtonii), Sweet-scented pigeonwings (Clitoria fragrans), Scrub plum (prunus geniculata) and Scrub buckwheat (Eriogonum longifolium var. gnaphalifolium).
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.
Also known as Florida spiny pod, Florida milkvine (Matelea floridana) is a deciduous twining vine that occurs naturally in sandhills, woodlands and other open habitats. Its small flowers bloom in late spring and summer. They are pollinated mostly by beetles. The plant is a larval host for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies and is a state-listed endangered species.
Softhair coneflower 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.
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.
Woodland poppymallow (Callirhoe papaver) is one of our most unique native wildflowers, with large, cuplike blooms ranging from bright magenta to wine red. These striking flowers attract a variety of bees, which are the primary pollinator. The plant is the larval host of the Checkered skipper. Woodland poppymallow is endangered in Florida, occurring naturally in upland mixed forests and dry hammocks in only four counties.
If you’re looking to dress up your landscape this summer, consider these native species, which adapt readily to home gardens and provide weeks of blooms.
Students at schools all over Florida won’t have to go far this fall to experience the state’s flora – hundreds of wildflowers are coming to them, thanks to the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Seedlings for Schools grant program.
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.
It is more important than ever to make a home for native bees in Florida’s landscapes. Bee expert Dr. Rachel Mallinger of the University of Florida gives tips on the best ways to welcome them to urban landscapes.
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.