It’s November, and you might not expect to see any showy bloom of native wildflowers and grasses. But don’t jump too that conclusion too fast, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Titusville balm is a state-listed endangered wildflower endemic to Brevard County where it is restricted to an approximately 30-mile range. It blooms from October through December, attracting mostly small to medium-size bees. Although the plants are small, Titusville balm is a prolific bloomer and seeder, especially when exposed to fire. Individual plants typically live only three years, but the abundance of seeds helps ensure the species’ continuance.
Azure blue sage is a deciduous perennial wildflower that occurs naturally in flatwoods and sandhills. Its striking cerulean flowers bloom August through November, attracting a variety of bees, butterflies and even hummingbirds.
Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation on Dec. 3 for a fun, family-friendly day in the forest. Forest Service biologist Jay Garcia will introduce us to the Ocala National Forest. Learn how the scrub habitat is being managed and restored. Find out why the Forest Service is allowing people to cut down trees and how it fits into their management plan. Then we’ll caravan to the Christmas tree cutting site, where everyone with a permit will have the opportunity to pick out and cut down their very own fresh-from-Florida sand pine.
Mining bees (Andrenidae) are a diverse family and some of the first bees to fly come spring. But if you don’t see them in the air, you can usually spot their conspicuous nest entrances on the ground marked by mounds of excavated soil.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation provides scholarships for master’s students studying wildflowers within the University of Florida’s Plant Restoration and Conservation Horticulture Consortium of the Department of Environmental Horticulture in Gainesville. Scholarship students are advised by Dr. Hector Perez, associate professor. Luis Andres Ochoa studies Sand flax (Linum arenicola), a perennial with a small yellow flower and grasslike leaves endemic to South Florida and listed as an endangered species.
Eastern silver aster (Symphyotrichum concolor) is a winsome wildflower found in Florida’s pineland habitats. It typically blooms in fall but may bloom in summer and early winter (or year-round in South Florida). Its many flowers provide nectar for a variety of butterflies.
Want to help preserve the Panhandle’s roadside wildflowers? Plan to join the Florida Wildflower Foundation for the annual meeting of the Panhandle Wildflower Alliance Nov. 6.
Thistles have a bad reputation for their spiny personality, but these formidable wildflowers shine as favorite nectar and host plants for many bees and butterflies, including swallowtails. It is the larval host plant for the little metalmark and painted lady butterflies. The seeds are an important food source for seed-eating birds.
Thanks to a $7,000 grant from Duke Energy, Central Florida students soon will be learning about the natural world through Wild About Wildflowers! Activity Kits. Through the kits, more than 3,000 third- and fourth-graders will learn about native wildflowers, their ecosystems, and their environmental significance while achieving Florida education standards.
Pineland chaffhead (Carphephorus carnosus aka Litrisa carnosa) is a short-lived perennial wildflower that occurs naturally in wet pine flatwoods, savannas and seepage slopes. It typically blooms in late summer through early fall and attracts butterflies, moths and other pollinators. It is endemic to only 13 Central and South Florida counties.
Heartwood Preserve is the first conservation cemetery within a nature preserve in the Tampa Bay area. Join us on this unique opportunity to learn about the efforts to conserve and permanently protect this endangered natural habitat through environmentally friendly burial options. Visit longleaf pine flatwoods and cypress wetlands. Learn the land’s history and management, the importance of fire ecology and the process of conservation burial.
Trying to identify that wildflower you found in your yard or on a field trip? The USF Atlas of Florida Plants is a terrific source of native wildflower and plant information where you can dig into a treasure of images and specimens, and it’s just a few mouse clicks away.
Known also as Dense blazing star, Marsh blazing star and Spiked blazing star, Dense gayfeather (Liatris spicata) is an erect herbaceous perennial with striking spikes of purple flowers. It occurs naturally in mesic to wet flatwoods, seepage slopes, bogs, savannas and roadside ditches. It blooms in late summer through fall and is an excellent attractor of butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects.