Fetterbush (also known as shiny lyonia) is an erect woody evergreen shrub that produces a plethora of small, fragrant blooms in whitish-pink to pink to red. It occurs naturally in pine and scrubby flatwoods, scrub, dry hammocks, dry prairies, and along swamp and cypress pond margins.
Weekly plant profile of Florida Favorites.
Also known as St. John’s mint and Creeping Charlie, Browne’s savory is a long-lived aquatic perennial wildflower with a sprawling growth habit. It is a highly aromatic plant, particularly when its leaves or stems are crushed. It can be used to make a tea or to add mint flavor to a salad or other dish.
Rain lily is a short-lived perennial wildflower. Its showy, solitary flowers are white (although sometimes tinged with pink) and, as the name suggests, typically bloom after a rain shower. Flowering can occur in late winter through early summer, but their tendency to bloom around Easter has earned them another common name — Easter lily.
Prairie iris (also known as Dixie iris) is a rhizomatous perennial wildflower with showy purple flowers. They bloom in spring in swamps, wet prairies and marshes, and along the edges of rivers and ditches.
Frogfruit is known by many names: turkey tangle fogfruit, capeweed, matchhead, creeping Charlie… Regardless of what you call it, frogfruit is both a versatile and vital wildflower. This evergreen perennial is low-growing and creeping, often forming dense mats of green foliage.
Also known as woodland phlox, wild blue phlox is a delicate perennial wildflower. Its beautiful blooms appear from spring into early summer in slope forests, bluffs and calcareous hammocks. It is limited to four Panhandle counties in Florida, but is widespread throughout the United States. Many pollinators are attracted to the blooms, especially butterflies. Its roots are eaten by rabbits and other small mammals.
Lewton’s milkwort is a state-endangered wildflower endemic to only six counties in Central Florida. It occurs in scrub, sandhill and pine barren habitats where maintenance includes a regular fire regime. It blooms in late winter and spring, attracting a variety of pollinators, especially leafcutter bees, hover flies and bee flies.
Pinebarren frostweed is a perennial mound-shaped subshrub that occurs naturally in sandhills, dry flatwoods, dunes and other dry, sandy areas. Its delicate lemon-yellow flowers bloom spring through summer and attract a variety of pollinators. Blooms are many, and they last only one day.
Wild pennyroyal is a low-growing, evergreen, herbaceous to woody shrub. It typically flowers in late winter through spring, but can bloom year-round, and occurs naturally in scrub, scrubby and pine flatwoods, sandhills, dry prairies and ruderal areas. Flowers are attractive to a variety of bees and butterflies. The entire plant is delightfully aromatic, particularly when crushed. Its leaves can also be brewed into a minty tea.
Rose-rush is a striking perennial wildflower that occurs naturally in sandy flatwoods, scrub, sandhills and pine barrens throughout most of Florida. It is near-endemic, occurring outside of Florida in only a few Georgia counties. It blooms spring through summer; in South Florida, it may bloom into fall. Like other asters, it attracts a variety of pollinators.
Dainty, ground-hugging, perennial, flowering and edible are just a few descriptions for Florida’s common blue violet. This plant is aptly named as it is the violet that is most common throughout Florida and is often seen in cultivated lawns. It grows in clumps, forming a thick groundcover that will never need to be mowed. They are prolific self-seeders, as well. When grown in the right conditions, violets flower from spring through the summer months.
Blueflower butterwort (Pinguicula caerulea) is an insectivorous wildflower that typically blooms between January and May. It occurs naturally in bogs and low pinelands throughout much of the Florida peninsula. It is a state-threatened species and is susceptible to drought conditions, drainage, habitat loss and illegal collection.
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.
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.
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.