Gallberry (Ilex glabra) is an evergreen shrub to small tree found in flatwoods, bayheads, coastal swales, bogs, sinks and moist woodlands throughout Florida. Its tiny flowers attract bees, while its pulpy berries and evergreen foliage provide food and cover for birds.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Trumpet creeper is a high-climbing woody vine so named because its showy flowers are trumpet-shaped. It is found in moist woodlands and thickets throughout Central and northern Florida. Flowers bloom year-round, peaking in spring and summer. They are very attractive to hummingbirds. Its flowers are very similar in appearance to the flowers of its cousin, Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata). The latter has visible tendrils and its compound leaves have only two leaflets.
White stopper (Eugenia axillaris) is an evergreen shrub or small tree found in coastal hammocks, strands and shell mounds in Florida’s central and southern peninsula. Its fragrant flowers bloom year-round, with peak blooming in spring and summer, attracting many types of pollinators. Fruits generally form in fall, but may persist several months. They are eaten by birds and wildlife. Humans can eat them, too — the flesh is quite sweet when ripe, but eating the bitter seeds is not recommended.
Wiregrass (Aristida stricta) is a perennial bunchgrass found in scrub, pinelands and coastal uplands throughout much of Florida. It is the dominant groundcover species in longleaf pine savannas and is a primary food source for gopher tortoises. Birds and small wildlife eat the seeds. Historically, cattle grazed on Wiregrass’s tender new growth.
Marlberry (Ardisia escallonioides) is an evergreen shrub that occurs naturally in coastal strands and hammocks and pine rocklands throughout Central and South Florida. It blooms and fruits intermittently throughout the year, with peak blooming in summer through fall. Marlberry’s abundant fruit is enjoyed by birds and small animals and is also edible to humans. Its dense foliage provides significant cover for wildlife.
Cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to swamps and coastal dunes and hammocks in Central and South Florida. It produces flowers and fruits throughout the year, with the peak bloom occurring winter through spring. Its dense foliage and substantial fruit provide cover and food for many birds and small wildlife.