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.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
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.
Wild lime (Zanthoxylum fagara) is an evergreen shrub to small tree that occurs naturally in hammocks throughout Central and South Florida. It blooms year-round, with peak flowering in winter and spring. Its dense foliage provides cover, and its fruit provides food for birds and small wildlife. The plant is the larval host for several butterflies, including the Giant swallowtail and Schaus’ swallowtail butterflies.
Also known as Twinberry, Simpson’s stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans) is an evergreen shrub or small tree that occurs naturally in coastal strands and hammocks. Its year-round blooms attract a variety of butterflies and bees; its fruit provides food for many species of bird. The sweet flesh of the fruit is edible to humans, but eating the bitter seeds is not recommended.
Yellow necklacepod (Sophora tomentosa var. truncata) is a long-lived flowering shrub that occurs naturally in coastal strands, hammocks and dunes throughout Central and South Florida. The flowers, which bloom year-round, attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other small birds. The plant provides food and cover for a variety of wildlife.