Goldenclub (Orontium aquaticum) is a peculiar perennial wildflower found in shallow swamps, streams and ponds throughout much of Florida. It blooms in winter and spring, and is pollinated primarily by bees, flies and beetles. It is the only living species in its genus. Other Orontium species are extinct.
Originally named for the Delaware tribes of Native Americans near where this butterfly was discovered, the Delaware skipper is now found throughout the eastern United States. This small, bright orange butterfly is attracted to grassy meadows and wet areas. As part of the Grass skipper subfamily of skippers, its larval hosts are grasses and sedges.
Join us on our Jan. 25 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 and Todd Angel. 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).
Wiregrass gentian is a rare herbaceous wildflower endemic to only nine Panhandle counties where it occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, wet prairies and seepage slopes. It is a state-listed endangered species and one of only four species of Gentiana that occur in Florida. Wiregrass gentian typically blooms in winter but may bloom from October into May. It is pollinated primarily by bees. The plant is fire-adapted and will bloom profusely after a burn.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation joined the state’s leading conservation organizations Monday in calling for lawmakers to fully fund the Florida Forever land conservation program during the 2020 legislative session.
Walter’s aster (Symphyotrichum walteri) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower found in sandhills and pine flatwoods. It blooms in late fall and early winter, providing nectar and pollen to butterflies, bees and other pollinators at a time when floral resources are limited. The species epithet walteri is an homage to British botanist Thomas Walter (c. 1740–1789), author of Flora Caroliniana, the first North American flora resource to utilize the Linnean binomial taxonomic naming system.
Wendy Poag is a Lake County recreation coordinator, responsible for environmental education and the restoration and management of 2,000 acres of public lands. She has been involved with the Florida Wildflower Foundation since 2008. Over the years, she has helped forge a close working relationship between FWF and Lake County, which recently dedicated several acres at PEAR Park, Leesburg, for an FWF weed seed control research project. Wendy leads other Lake County employees and project volunteers in doing quarterly evaluations of the wildflower research plots. Research results are expected in 2022.
Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation on Dec. 7 for our annual Christmas tree cutting event. Forest Service biologist Jay Garcia will introduce us to the Ocala National Forest. Learn how the scrub habitat is being managed and restored. Find out why the Forest Service is allowing people to cut down trees and how it fits into their management plan. Then we’ll caravan to the Christmas tree cutting site, where everyone with a permit will have the opportunity to pick out and cut down their very own fresh-from-Florida sand pine.
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.
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.
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Because much of Florida experienced a prolonged hot, dry spell in September, the best show is expected to be in south Central Florida and southward, which received more rain.
Wild coco (Eulophia alta) is a terrestrial orchid found in hydric hammocks, hardwood swamps, wet flatwoods, marshes and open disturbed sites in Central and South Florida. It blooms from late summer through winter, with peak flowering in fall. Its species epithet alta is from the Latin altus, meaning “tall,” and refers to the tall flower spikes.
Keep your eyes open for Cloudless sulphur butterflies! Monarchs aren’t the only ones migrating this time of year. Fall is a wonderful time to see the Cloudless sulphurs in flight on their southern migration. The Cloudless sulphur can be found year-round in the southern United States, Caribbean and much of South America, but migrating populations extend all the way to Colorado, New Jersey or even Canada during the summer months. Cloudless sulphurs practice a large fall migration to southern regions, much like the Monarch butterfly.
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.