Weekly plant profile of Florida Favorites.

Wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis) Photo by Jim Haley

Flower Friday: Wild petunia

Wild petunia is a low-growing, erect perennial wildflower that typically blooms in late spring through late summer/early fall. It occurs naturally in mesic hammocks, flatwoods and sandhills, and along roadsides and in disturbed sites. It is the host plant for the white peacock (Anartia jatrophae) and common buckeye (Junonia coenia) butterflies, but attracts a variety of pollinators.

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Flower Friday: Red buckeye

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 important food source for returning hummingbirds and butterflies.

WIld pennyroyal (Piloblephes rigida) Photo by Wayne Matchett

Flower Friday: Wild pennyroyal

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.

Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata). Photo by Lisa Roberts

Flower Friday:Lyreleaf sage

Lyreleaf sage is an attractive perennial that produces leafless spikes of lavender to bluish, tubular flowers. Bees are its predominant pollinator, but it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. It typically flowers in late winter through late spring along woodland edges, in open areas and in disturbed sites.

Buttonsage (Lantana involucrata). Photo by Bob Peterson (Creative Commons license)

Flower Friday: Buttonsage

Buttonsage is a woody, evergreen shrub that produces dense clusters of small, fragrant, whitish to lavender flowers. It occurs naturally along coastal strands, dunes, hammocks, and pinelands in coastal counties from Pinellas (on the west) and Brevard (on the east) south to Monroe and into the Keys.

Christmasberry (Lycium carolinianum). Photo by Joseph A. Marcus, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Flower Friday: Christmasberry

Christmasberry gets its common name from the bright red, egg-shaped berries that it produces in abundance in December. It has also been referred to as Carolina desert-thorn, which is a reference to the occasional thorns borne on its branches. The nectar of the flowers attract a variety of butterflies and moths. The berries, while toxic to some animals, are a favorite food source for many birds. Christmasberry is a close relative of the Goji berry (Lycium barbarum, Lycium chinense).

Burr marigold (Bidens laevis). Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Burr marigold

Burr marigold is an annual wildflower that grows en masse in wetlands and along river and marsh edges throughout Florida. Its bright yellow flowers appear in late fall through early winter and attract many bees and butterflies. Its seeds have two barb-like bristles on the end that stick to clothing, hair and animal fur.

Skyblue clustervine (Jacquemontia pentanthos). Photo by Jason Hollinger (Creative Commons license)

Flower Friday: Skyblue clustervine

Skyblue clustervine is an evergreen, twining vine and is endangered in Florida. It is also known as Key West morning-glory, and occurs naturally in coastal hammocks and along wetlands in South Florida. It attracts a variety of pollinators, including the nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis), tantalus sphinx (Aellopus tantalus) and tersa sphinx (Xylophanes tersa) moths, which pollinate the flowers at dusk.

Flower Friday: Hammock snakeroot

Hammock snakeroot is yet another member of the Eupatorieae tribe of the Aster family, which means its flowers consist of only disk and no ray florets. It flowers in summer through early winter and occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, sandhills, hammocks, upland mixed woodlands, and along roadsides and stream banks. Flowers are attractive to a variety of bees, butterflies and birds, but the plant is poisonous to both humans and livestock if ingested.

Climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum). Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Climbing aster

Climbing aster is a robust vine-like shrub that produces many fragrant daisy-like blooms of lavender to pinkish or even bluish. It occurs naturally in floodplain swamps and marshes, in coastal hammocks and wet pine flatwoods, and along riverbanks and lake edges, and is an excellent nectar source for many butterflies and bees.

Drumheads (Polygala cruciata). Photo by Wayne Matchett.

Flower Friday: Drumheads

Drumheads is a low-growing wildflower that blooms from late spring through fall. They occur naturally throughout most of Florida in wet pinelands, savannas and other open wetland habitats, as well as along marsh edges. The name Polygala comes from the Greek polys, which means “many or much,” and gala, which means “milk.” It is so-named because it was once believed that the presence of Polygala species in cow fields would result in higher milk production.