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

Climbing fetterbush, Pieris phyllyreifolia

Flower Friday: Climbing fetterbush

Climbing fetterbush (Pieris phyllyreifolia) is an evergreen vine-like shrub found in swamps, moist pinelands, upland mixed forests and sandhills in the Panhandle and several peninsular counties. It blooms fall through early spring. Its typical habit is to ascend the trunks of cypress trees by creeping under the fibrous bark, although it is not parasitic. Climbing fetterbush is the only vine-like member of the Ericaceae family found in the United States.


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Goldenclub, Orontium aquaticum

Flower Friday: Goldenclub

Goldenclub (Orontium aquaticum) is a peculiar perennial wildflower found in shallow swamps, streams and ponds throughout much of Florida. It blooms in winter and spring, and is pollinated primarily by bees, flies and beetles. It is the only living species in its genus. Other Orontium species are extinct.

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Wiregrass gentian, Gentian pennelliana

Flower Friday: Wiregrass gentian

Wiregrass gentian is a rare herbaceous wildflower endemic to only nine Panhandle counties where it occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, wet prairies and seepage slopes. It is a state-listed endangered species and one of only four species of Gentiana that occur in Florida. Wiregrass gentian typically blooms in winter but may bloom from October into May. It is pollinated primarily by bees. The plant is fire-adapted and will bloom profusely after a burn.

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Walter's aster, Symphyotrichum walteri

Flower Friday: Walter’s aster

Walter’s aster (Symphyotrichum walteri) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower found in sandhills and pine flatwoods. It blooms in late fall and early winter, providing nectar and pollen to butterflies, bees and other pollinators at a time when floral resources are limited. The species epithet walteri is an homage to British botanist Thomas Walter (c. 1740–1789), author of Flora Caroliniana, the first North American flora resource to utilize the Linnean binomial taxonomic naming system.

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Hairy chaffhead, Carphephorus paniculatus

Flower Friday: Hairy chaffhead

Hairy chaffhead (Carphephorus paniculatus) is a stunning perennial wildflower found in moist flatwoods and savannas where it tends to form large colonies. It typically blooms from late August through December, with peak flowering in October. Its beautiful fuschia flowers provide nectar for butterflies.

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Wild coco, Eulophia alta

Flower Friday: Wild coco

Wild coco (Eulophia alta) is a terrestrial orchid found in hydric hammocks, hardwood swamps, wet flatwoods, marshes and open disturbed sites in Central and South Florida. It blooms from late summer through winter, with peak flowering in fall. Its species epithet alta is from the Latin altus, meaning “tall,” and refers to the tall flower spikes.

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