“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.

Heliotropium gnaphalodes

Flower Friday: Sea lavender

Sea lavender (Heliotropium gnaphalodes) is an evergreen shrub found in dunes and thickets on the Atlantic coast of Central and South Florida. This state-listed endangered species typically blooms in fall and winter, but may bloom year-round. Its small but showy flowers emit a subtly sweet scent and attract many pollinators, especially butterflies. The common name “lavender” likely refers to the plant’s resemblance to true lavender or rosemary. Sea lavender’s leaves have no noticeable scent.

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Small butterwort

Flower Friday: Small butterwort

Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata) is a deciduous flowering shrub found in pine and scrubby flatwoods, sandhills and coastal scrub habitats throughout peninsular Florida. It blooms late winter through spring, producing many flowers that attract a wide variety of butterflies. The plant is a larval host for the Zebra swallowtail and Pawpaw sphinx moth. The fruits, which appear in spring and summer, are a favorite of birds and small mammals. Humans can eat them, too* — if one can find a ripe one before the animals do!

 

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Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata)

Flower Friday: Netted pawpaw

Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata) is a deciduous flowering shrub found in pine and scrubby flatwoods, sandhills and coastal scrub habitats throughout peninsular Florida. It blooms late winter through spring, producing many flowers that attract a wide variety of butterflies. The plant is a larval host for the Zebra swallowtail and Pawpaw sphinx moth. The fruits, which appear in spring and summer, are a favorite of birds and small mammals. Humans can eat them, too* — if one can find a ripe one before the animals do!

 

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Climbing fetterbush (Pieris phyllyreifolia)

Flower Friday: Climbing fetterbush

Climbing fetterbush (Pieris phyllyreifolia) is an evergreen vine-like shrub found in swamps, moist pinelands, upland mixed forests and sandhills in the Panhandle and several peninsular counties. It blooms fall through early spring. Its typical habit is to ascend the trunks of cypress trees by creeping under the fibrous bark, although it is not parasitic. Climbing fetterbush is the only vine-like member of the Ericaceae family found in the United States.

 

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Goldenclub (Orontium aquaticum)

Flower Friday: Goldenclub

Goldenclub (Orontium aquaticum) is a peculiar perennial wildflower found in shallow swamps, streams and ponds throughout much of Florida. It blooms in winter and spring, and is pollinated primarily by bees, flies and beetles. It is the only living species in its genus. Other Orontium species are extinct.

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Wiregrass gentian

Flower Friday: Wiregrass gentian

Wiregrass gentian is a rare herbaceous wildflower endemic to only nine Panhandle counties where it occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, wet prairies and seepage slopes. It is a state-listed endangered species and one of only four species of Gentiana that occur in Florida. Wiregrass gentian typically blooms in winter but may bloom from October into May. It is pollinated primarily by bees. The plant is fire-adapted and will bloom profusely after a burn.

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