Pineland waterwillow (Justicia angusta) is an elegant wildflower found in lake and pond margins and wet pinelands, prairies and disturbed areas throughout much of Florida. It is near-endemic, occurring outside of Florida in only a few Georgia counties. The plant blooms spring through fall and attracts mostly bees. The genus name Justicia is an homage to Sir James Johnson, an 18th century Scottish horticulturalist. The species epithet angusta is from the Latin angustus, meaning “narrow,” and alludes to the plant’s narrow leaves.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Also known as Sandweed, Peelbark St. John’s wort (Hypericum fasciculatum) is an evergreen shrub found in wet pinelands and savannas, and along the margins of swamps, freshwater marshes and ponds. It typically blooms spring through fall, but may bloom year-round. The flowers are attractive to polyester, yellow-face, large carpenter, bumble, leafcutter, resin and sweat bees. The plant provides food and cover for birds and other small wildlife.
Cowhorn orchid (Cyrtopodium punctatum) is a stunning epiphytic wildflower that occurs in swamps and coastal uplands in South Florida. It typically grows on Cypress (Taxodium spp.) and Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) trees. Florida’s once-abundant population was largely depleted in the early 20th century due to overcollection and habitat destruction. It is now a state-listed endangered species. The plant blooms in late winter through spring, with peak blooming in May.
Savannah false pimpernel (Lindernia grandiflora) is a low-growing, mat-forming wildflower found in moist pinelands, marshes and swamps. Its diminutive yet flamboyant flowers bloom year-round, peaking in spring. They attract small insects; however, they are primarily self-pollinated. The plant is also known as Blue moneywort and Angel’s tears.
Axilflower (Mecardonia acuminata) is a common but often overlooked perennial wildflower found in moist open habitats. The plant rarely reaches a height of more than 6 inches and is frequently horizontal. It blooms spring through fall (sometimes year-round) and attracts mainly bees. Three subspecies occur in Florida.
Florida bellflower (Campanula floridana) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower endemic to Florida. It is found in moist meadows and along pond, marsh and stream margins and moist roadsides. Its delightful violet flowers bloom in spring and mainly attract bees and butterflies, although hummingbirds also have been known to visit them.