Join us on Saturday, March 3, at Silver Springs State Park for the 2018 Florida SpringsFest. Come learn from the experts about the history and science of springs. Enjoy live music, art, movies and games throughout the day. Participate in programs and presentations from state park rangers and other environmental experts. Specials guests will be on hand including live mermaids and an appearance by Rico Browning, the original “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
The Eucerini tribe is collectively referred to as the “long-horned bees,” but some genera within this tribe have other common names such as squash bees and sunflower bees. Long-horned bees can be difficult to tell apart, but males are easy to spot with their extraordinarily long antennae!
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 an important food source for returning hummingbirds and butterflies.
No matter what you call it — beggar’s tick, Spanish needle, monkey’s lice — Bidens alba is likely the most underappreciated of all Florida’s native wildflower. It is often considered a weed because it reproduces so prolifically, but it is a great native wildflower for attracting pollinators. In Florida, it is the third most common source of nectar for honey production. Its young leaves and flowers are edible.
Also known as Lanceleaf violet, Bog white violet is a diminutive perennial wildflower that occurs naturally in bogs and along the edges of ponds, marshes and other wetlands. It blooms in early winter through summer, but may bloom year-round. Its sweetly scented flowers attract bees and butterflies, while its seeds are enjoyed by various birds and small mammals.
Frostweed is a robust, herbaceous perennial wildflower that bears clusters of white flowers with noticeably contrasting purplish-black anthers. It typically flowers late summer through fall along moist forest and hammock edges throughout the state. It is attractive to many bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Join us on Feb. 25 as we explore some of Tiger Creek Preserve’s 5,000 acres. The 2.5-mile hike will traverse the preserve’s hilly terrain through flatwoods, creek bluffs and sandhill. A footbridge and boardwalk will take us across Tiger Creek, and we’ll cross a sandhill ridge with expansive views through the longleaf pines.
Skyblue clustervine is an evergreen, twining vine and is endangered in Florida. It occurs naturally in coastal hammocks and along wetlands in South Florida, attracting 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 a low-growing shrub found in pine flatwoods, sandhills, hammocks, upland mixed woodlands, and along roadsides and stream banks throughout Florida’s peninsula and Eastern Panhandle. It blooms in late summer through early winter (typically September through January), attracting a variety of butterflies, including hairstreaks, Julias, skippers and crescents. Bees and hummingbirds like it, too, but the plant is poisonous to both humans and livestock if ingested.
Stokes’ aster (Stokesia leavis) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower native to only nine counties in Florida (but more common throughout the Southeast). It occurs naturally in savannas, flatwoods, roadside depressions and pitcherplant bog margins. Flowers typically bloom in spring and summer, but may bloom throughout the year, attracting a variety of bees, wasps and butterflies.
Ecologists estimate that only 3 to 4 percent of land in the United States has been undisturbed by human activity. That’s why providing habitat — food, shelter and nesting areas for wildlife — within sustainable urban landscapes should be an important goal for everyone.
We can’t create a perfect natural habitat for each species. However, we can make a difference by using Florida’s native wildflowers and plants. Learn how!
The Florida Wildflower Foundation has received a $17,000 grant from Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for its project, “20 Easy Wildflowers to Grow Now!” It includes a publication, continuing education courses for horticultural professionals, and live social media events.
St. Andrew’s cross is an evergreen perennial shrub found in wet pine flatwoods, calcareous hammocks, floodplain forests and mixed woodlands throughout Florida. Bees and butterflies love its flowers while the foliage provides cover for birds and other small wildlife.
Shortleaf rose gentian (Sabatia brevifolia) is a herbaceous annual wildflower that occurs in moist to wet pine flatwoods, coastal swales and wet prairies throughout Florida. Its white, starlike flowers typically bloom in spring through fall, but may bloom in winter if temperatures are unseasonably warm. They primarily attract butterflies.
Additional resources and activities on wildflowers, gardening, wildlife, pollinators, and other related topics for teachers and students.