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

Giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Giant ironweed

Giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) is a robust, perennial wildflower that is perfect for butterfly and wildflower gardens. It is a member of the Aster family, but unlike most of its cousins, its flowers have only disc florets — no ray florets are present. Flowering occurs in summer and fall, with peak blooming in July, when it attracts many pollinators, particularly butterflies.

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Flower Friday: American bluehearts

American bluehearts (Buchnera americana) is a perennial #wildflower found in pinelands, prairies and marshes, and along roadsides throughout the state. Its bright violet to almost white blooms attract bees and butterflies, and its tiny seed capsules are eaten by birds. It also has a habit of hemiparasitism.

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Flower Friday: Fringed meadowbeauty

Fringed meadowbeauty is an herbaceous perennial wildflower with showy pink blooms. It occurs naturally in wet prairies, bogs and flatwoods, and along coastal swales. It flowers spring through summer and attracts many pollinators, especially bees.

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Candyroot (Polygala nana) by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Candyroot

Candyroot is an annual herbaceous wildflower found in wet to moist pine flatwoods, wet prairies and coastal swales. It typically blooms in late spring through summer, but can bloom year-round.

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Pale grasspink (Calopogon pallidus) by Eleanor Dietrich

Flower Friday: Pale grasspink

Pale grasspink is a terrestrial orchid that occurs naturally in bogs and wet flatwoods, prairies and roadsides. It shares the same bloom time (spring into summer) and habitat as its cousin, tuberous grasspink, but can be distinguished by its flowers, which are smaller, paler, and have reflexed sepals.

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Whitemouth dayflower (Commelina erecta) by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Whitemouth dayflower

Whitemouth dayflower (Commelina erect) is an erect ephemeral wildflower found in pinelands, coastal uplands and scrub habitats. It generally blooms in summer and fall, but is known to bloom year-round in South Florida. Blooms attract a variety of pollinators, especially bees. Seeds are eaten by birds, and the foliage is sometimes consumed by gopher tortoises. The plant is also edible to humans. The flowers can be eaten raw or candied. Leaves are best cooked (boiled or fried), but the young shoots and tips can be eaten raw.

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