springsfest logo

March 3 2018 Florida SpringsFest

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.”

aesculus_pavia

Flower Friday: Red buckeye

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.

Honeybee on Bidens alba

Flower Friday: Beggar’s tick

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.

Flower Friday: Bog white violet

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 (Verbesina virginica). Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Frostweed

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.

tiger creek preserve

Feb. 25 Field trip to Tiger Creek Preserve

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

Flower Friday: Skyblue clustervine

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.

Flower Friday: Hammock snakeroot

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

Flower Friday: Stokes’ aster

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.

It’s not a garden, it’s a habitat

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!

shortleaf rosegentian sabatia brevifolia

Flower Friday: Shortleaf rosegentian

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.