Also known as Seven sisters or Swamp lily, String lily (Crinum americanum) is an erect, emergent perennial with showy, fragrant blooms. It is found in wet hammocks, marshes, swamps, wetland edges, and along streams and rivers throughout Florida and the southeast United States. The bulbs and leaves are poisonous to humans, but are a favorite treat of lubber grasshoppers.
Also known as Largeflower rosegentian, Marsh-pink (Sabatia grandiflora) is a beautiful herbaceous wildflower found in mesic pine flatwoods and wet prairies throughout Florida. In northern Florida, its showy blooms appear in summer, but it can bloom year-round in southern Florida. It is almost endemic, occurring in only one county in Alabama outside of the state of Florida.
Also known as Cardinal spear or Cherokee bean, Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea) is a semi-deciduous to evergreen woody shrub. It produces red tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a hardy, fast-growing and showy evergreen shrub to small tree. It produces clusters of bright orange to red tubular flowers that are filled with nectar. The blooms vary in length, attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds.
Virginia pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum) is a member of the mustard family and is edible to humans. It is also the host plant for the checkered white and great Southern white butterflies. Bees love it, too!
Butterweed (Packera glabella) (formerly Senecio glabellus) is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in early spring. It grows in dense stands that illuminate moist roadsides and river edges. It also occurs naturally in alluvial forests and wet, disturbed sites and attracts a variety of pollinators.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation provides scholarships for masters students studying wildflowers within the University of Florida’s Plant Restoration and Conservation Horticulture Consortium of the Department of Environmental Horticulture in Gainesville. Tia Tyler, the second of two students supported by FWF, is advised by Dr. Hector Perez, Associate Professor at the Plant Restoration and Conservation Horticulture Consortium at the Department of Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida.
Instrumental in getting the Florida Wildflower Foundation off the ground, Anne Mackay continues to serve on the Foundation’s board, first serving on the Florida Wildflower Council board, then as board chair for the Florida Wildflower Foundation. Read why she stays involved.
If you are tired of mowing, watering and fertilizing the lawn, and fighting chinch bugs and other lawn pests, consider replacing your turf grass with Oblongleaf twinflower (Dyschoriste oblongifolia), an easy-to-care-for native groundcover. It occurs naturally in dry to moist sandhills, flatwoods and mixed upland forests and attracts bees and butterflies, including the malachite and white peacock. It is also a host plant for the common buckeye.
No, it’s not a shamrock. It’s Creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), a ground-hugging native with distinct clover-like leaves and sunny yellow flowers. It may bloom any time of the year, but it flowers and fruits most in spring. The flowers attract bees, flies and small butterflies. Creeping woodsorrel is common along roadsides and in urban landscapes and disturbed areas. It often gets a bad wrap as a “weed,” but its spreading, low-growing habit make it an excellent groundcover option.
Spiderworts (Tradescantia spp.) are erect perennial wildflowers that are very attractive to bees. And like all species in the dayflower family, they are ephemeral, meaning their flowers stay open only one day. Four species of spiderwort are native to Florida, including Hairyflower spiderwort (T. hirsutiflora) in the Panhandle, and Bluejacket or Ohio spiderwort (T. ohiensis), the most common spiderwort found throughout North and Central Florida.
Also known as Canadian toadflax, Blue toadflax (Linaria canadensis) is an annual (or occasionally biennial) wildflower that forms a delicate sea of lavender when in bloom. It is common along roadsides, and in pastures and other disturbed areas. It is sometimes confused with Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata) because of its similar growth habit and bloom color, and because they often grow together.
Known by many names including Scarlet sage, Red salvia and Blood sage, Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) is a versatile perennial wildflower and steadfast addition to any wildflower garden. Its flower is one that no pollinator can resist, but it is particularly attractive to bees, large butterflies and hummingbirds. It typically blooms in summer and fall, but can bloom year-round in many parts of the state.
Although often overlooked, the diminutive white flowers and verdurous leaves of Innocence (Houstonia procumbens) are a welcome sight for anyone with the winter blues. This low-growing perennial creeps along the floors of many open habitats throughout Florida including pine flatwoods, sandhills, scrub and ruderal areas.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation established the endowment in 2007 to provide funds for graduate students conducting full-time wildflower research. In fall 2013, University of Florida graduate student Nicholas Genna became the first student to receive a graduate assistantship from the Gary Henry Endowment for the Study of Florida Native Wildflowers. Genna is studying under Dr. Hector Perez within the Department of Environmental Horticulture’s Plant Restoration and Conservation Horticulture Consortium on the university’s Gainesville campus.