Starrush whitetop (Rhynchospora colorata) is a unique and long-lived perennial sedge. It is known (and named) for its striking bracts that are often mistaken for a daisy-like flower. It occurs naturally in wet flatwoods, wet prairies, swales and roadside ditches. Like most sedges, starrush whitetop stems are triangular. But unlike most sedges and other grass-like species, which are wind-pollinated, starrush whitetop is pollinated by insects that are attracted to the showy bracts.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Catesby’s lily (Lilium catesbaei) is pure elegance, dotting wet flatwoods, prairies and savannas with brilliant summer and fall color. It is occurs throughout most of Florida, but is a state-listed threatened species. Catesby’s lily attracts a variety of butterflies, including swallowtails, which are its primary pollinators.
Winged loosestrife (Lythrum alatum) is a fast-growing perennial subshrub with many star-shaped flowers. It typically blooms in summer and attracts a plethora of pollinators. It occurs naturally in freshwater marshes and wet flatwoods, prairies and roadside ditches throughout much of Florida.
Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is an herbaceous perennial with cheerful yellow flowers. It typically blooms spring through fall, attracting moths, butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. It occurs naturally in floodplain forests, wet flatwoods, bluffs, mesic hammocks, bogs, savannas and swamps.
Spurred butterfly-pea (Centrosema virginianum) is a trailing or climbing vine that occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, sandhills, coastal strands and interdunal swales. Its showy flowers typically bloom in summer, but can bloom spring through fall, or year-round in South Florida. Spurred butterfly-pea flowers are papilionaceous, meaning they are butterfly-shaped and highly specialized to allow for bee pollination. The plant is also the larval host for Northern cloudywing and Long-tailed skipper butterflies.