Red buckeye is a deciduous understory shrub or small tree with showy clusters of red, tubular flowers that appear in late winter through spring. It is one of the first of the red tubular flowering plants to bloom each year, and is important food source for returning hummingbirds and butterflies.
Wild pennyroyal is a low-growing, evergreen, herbaceous to woody shrub. It typically flowers in late winter through spring, but can bloom year-round, and occurs naturally in scrub, scrubby and pine flatwoods, sandhills, dry prairies and ruderal areas. Flowers are attractive to a variety of bees and butterflies. The entire plant is delightfully aromatic, particularly when crushed. Its leaves can also be brewed into a minty tea.
Florida Wildflower Foundation member Kay Yeuell was born in Orange County, and spent his childhood in Florida and Massachusetts. After graduating from Boston University, Yeuell ran a family manufacturing business in the Boston area for 25 years. When he retired in the mid-1980s, Yeuell moved back to Florida with his wife, Linda Lord.
Lyreleaf sage is an attractive perennial that produces leafless spikes of lavender to bluish, tubular flowers. Bees are its predominant pollinator, but it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. It typically flowers in late winter through late spring along woodland edges, in open areas and in disturbed sites.
Buttonsage is a woody, evergreen shrub that produces dense clusters of small, fragrant, whitish to lavender flowers. It occurs naturally along coastal strands, dunes, hammocks, and pinelands in coastal counties from Pinellas (on the west) and Brevard (on the east) south to Monroe and into the Keys.
Christmasberry gets its common name from the bright red, egg-shaped berries that it produces in abundance in December. It has also been referred to as Carolina desert-thorn, which is a reference to the occasional thorns borne on its branches. The nectar of the flowers attract a variety of butterflies and moths. The berries, while toxic to some animals, are a favorite food source for many birds. Christmasberry is a close relative of the Goji berry (Lycium barbarum, Lycium chinense).
Burr marigold is an annual wildflower that grows en masse in wetlands and along river and marsh edges throughout Florida. Its bright yellow flowers appear in late fall through early winter and attract many bees and butterflies. Its seeds have two barb-like bristles on the end that stick to clothing, hair and animal fur.
Skyblue clustervine is an evergreen, twining vine and is endangered in Florida. It is also known as Key West morning-glory, and occurs naturally in coastal hammocks and along wetlands in South Florida. It attracts a variety of pollinators, including the nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis), tantalus sphinx (Aellopus tantalus) and tersa sphinx (Xylophanes tersa) moths, which pollinate the flowers at dusk.
Hammock snakeroot is yet another member of the Eupatorieae tribe of the Aster family, which means its flowers consist of only disk and no ray florets. It flowers in summer through early winter and occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, sandhills, hammocks, upland mixed woodlands, and along roadsides and stream banks. Flowers are attractive to a variety of bees, butterflies and birds, but the plant is poisonous to both humans and livestock if ingested.
Climbing aster is a robust vine-like shrub that produces many fragrant daisy-like blooms of lavender to pinkish or even bluish. It occurs naturally in floodplain swamps and marshes, in coastal hammocks and wet pine flatwoods, and along riverbanks and lake edges, and is an excellent nectar source for many butterflies and bees.
Drumheads is a low-growing wildflower that blooms from late spring through fall. They occur naturally throughout most of Florida in wet pinelands, savannas and other open wetland habitats, as well as along marsh edges. The name Polygala comes from the Greek polys, which means “many or much,” and gala, which means “milk.” It is so-named because it was once believed that the presence of Polygala species in cow fields would result in higher milk production.
Garberia is a member of the Eupatorieae tribe of the Aster family, whose members produce flowers consisting of only disk and no ray florets. It is unlike most Aster species in that its growth habit is woody and shrubby rather than herbaceous. It is endemic to Florida’s north and central peninsula, and occurs naturally in scrub and xeric hammocks. It is a state-listed threatened species.
Narrowleaf sunflower (also known as swamp sunflower) is one of Florida’s most common sunflowers. It occurs naturally in marshes, wet flatwoods, and roadside ditches and is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.
Mistflower, blue mistflower, wild ageratum, pink eupatorium, hardy ageratum, and blue boneset are just some of the many common names used to identify this eye-catching Florida native wildflower that is also very attractive to pollinators, especially butterflies and moths.
Feay’s palafox is a very unique wildflower, endemic only to Florida’s central and southern peninsula. Although it is a member of the Aster family, it bears few visual similarities. It is more woody than herbaceous; its blooms are without the petal-like ray florets; and its disk florets are tubular.