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.
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.