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.
Spanish stopper (Eugenia foetida) is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to coastal hardwood hammocks and thickets in Central and South Florida. Its semi-showy flowers bloom year-round, with peak blooming in spring and summer, attracting many types of pollinators. Its dense foliage provides cover and its abundant fruit provides food for birds and other small animals.
Helmet skullcap (Scutellaria integrifolia) is a diminutive yet showy wildflower that occurs naturally in sandhills, pine flatwoods and upland mixed forests, as well as along marsh and swamp edges. It typically blooms in late spring and summer, attracting a wide range of bees, including leafcutter, cuckoo and bumble bees. A few butterflies, such as the Gulf fritillary, Spicebush swallowtail and Eastern black swallowtail, sporadically visit the flower.
Insect populations are falling at alarming rates all around the world because of pesticide use, our climate crisis and habitat loss. It’s time to ask yourself: What have I done for insects lately? If the answer is “nothing,” you can take action now with this simple plan.
Fringed bluestar (Amsonia ciliata) occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, sandhills and scrub throughout west Central Florida and North Florida. It blooms spring through fall, attracting a variety of pollinators, especially butterflies. Despite being in the same family as milkweed, the plant is not a known larval host for Monarchs or other milkweed butterflies.
Also known as Beach verbena, Coastal mock vervain (Glandularia maritima) is a short-lived perennial wildflower endemic primarily to Florida’s east coast. It is a state-listed endangered species. It blooms year-round, although the most prolific flowering occurs in spring and summer. Beach verbena flowers are a good nectar source for a variety of butterflies and moths, including Gulf fritillaries, hawkmoths and Long-tailed skippers. They are also attractive to miner bees and long-tongued bees such as bumble and orchid bees.
Also known as Golden canna or Yellow canna, Bandanna-of-the-Everglades (Canna flaccida) is a robust aquatic wildflower with large, showy orchid-like blooms. It occurs naturally in freshwater marshes and swamps, and along pond and lake margins throughout much of Florida. It is the larval host for the Brazilian skipper; dragonfly larvae have been know to hide in the leaves until they change into adults. Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flower’s nectar.