White wild indigo (Baptista alba) is a long-lived perennial herbaceous wildflower with showy white blooms. It occurs naturally in pine flatwoods and along riverbanks and deciduous forest edges. It attracts many pollinators and is the larval host plant for the wild indigo duskywing and Zarucco duskywing butterflies. The fruits are eaten by a variety of birds, and the foliage is browsed by rabbits and deer. (The plant’s large tuberous roots allow it to withstand browsing.)
Also known as old man’s beard (or grancy graybeard in limited circles), fringetree is often overshadowed by dogwood, plum and other spring-flowering trees. But fringetree’s graceful tassled flowers put on an equally spectacular display. It occurs naturally in a variety of habitats including moist hammocks and sandy uplands. It attracts many pollinators, including bats, and is the larval host plant for several species of sphinx moths. Birds love the fruits.
Mountain laurel is an evergreen, perennial shrub to small tree that puts on a spectacular springtime display. It occurs naturally in slope forests, bluffs and along creeks, seep streams and swamp edges. It attracts bees and provides cover for birds and small mammals. Mountain laurel is a state-listed threatened species in Florida.
Lanceleaf tickseed is a perennial wildflower with conspicuously sunny blooms that typically appear in spring and sometimes into summer. It occurs naturally in moist sandhills, marshes, and along swamp edges. It attracts butterflies and other pollinators, and its seeds are commonly eaten by birds and small wildlife. Lanceleaf tickseed is one of 13 species of Coreopsis native to Florida. Coreopsis is Florida’s state wildflower.
Eastern redbud is a deciduous perennial tree that produces an abundance of striking magenta blooms. It typically flowers in March, at which time the entire crown of the tree will become covered in deep pink blooms. It occurs naturally in mesic hardwood hammocks. Eastern redbud depends on bees for pollination. Its leaves provide food for many caterpillars, including the io moth.
Black titi (pronounced tie-tie) is a perennial evergreen shrub to small tree. Its fragrant white-to-pinkish flowers typically bloom in spring. It occurs naturally in swamps, bogs, wet flatwoods and along stream edges. It is a wonderful attractor of pollinators — specifically honeybees who use its nectar and pollen to produce honey — and is also browsed by deer.
Rue anemone is a rare, ephemeral, perennial herb. Its dainty white flowers bloom in early spring and are gone by mid-summer. It occurs naturally in slope forests and limestone bluffs. In Florida, it is a state-listed endangered species because it is at its most southern range. It is much more prolific throughout the eastern United States.
Yellow butterwort 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.
Meet Taryn Evans of Weirsdale, Florida. Taryn is an enthusiastic member of the Florida Wildflower Foundation. She has shared her expertise on pollinators at previous Florida Wildflower Foundation symposia and with the Florida Native Plant Society’s Marion Big Scrub Chapter, where she serves as president. She and her husband, Terry, own Creative Garden Structures, which sells their handmade garden furniture, bird and pollinator nest boxes, and hand-painted rain barrels, as well as Florida native plants and wildflowers.
Four-petal St. John’s wort is an evergreen perennial shrub. Its flowers are bright lemon-yellow and can bloom throughout the year, but late spring is usually its best bloom time. It occurs naturally in moist flatwoods, sandhills and ruderal areas. It is considered a near-endemic species as it occurs only in Florida and limited parts of southern Georgia. It is attractive to bees.
Also known as largeflower jointweed, sandhill wireweed is a deciduous woody shrub that produces an abundance of spike-like flowering clusters. It is mostly a summer and fall bloomer, with October being its most abundant blooming time, but year-round blooms are not uncommon. Sandhill wireweed is endemic to Florida. It occurs nowhere else in the world.
Tread-softly is a perennial, low-growing herbaceous wildflower. Its brilliant white flowers bloom year-round. It occurs naturally in sandhills, scrub, pine and scrubby flatwoods, and ruderal and disturbed areas. It attracts many butterflies and other pollinators. It’s easy to see how tread-softly gets its common name, and its scientific name is just as telling.
False rosemary is a robust, evergreen flowering shrub that typically blooms from March through November, but can occur year-round. It occurs naturally in sand pine scrub and sandhills. Many pollinator species are attracted to false rosemary, but bees are the most prominent visitor.
Many Floridians become familiar with carpenter bees by accident. They may notice a hole that appears to have been drilled into unpainted wood around their homes with a sawdust pile beneath it. Or they might hear a buzzing sound coming from within the hole. Both are telltale signs of carpenter bees.