Meet vanillaleaf, the odiferous Carphephorus! Perhaps the most telling of common names, Vanillaleaf refers to the vanilla-like scent that the plant’s wilting leaves emit when crushed. Vanillaleaf (Carpephorus odoratissimus) is a perennial that produces many small purple flowers in terminal, flat-topped inflorescences. It blooms late summer into fall in mesic to hydric pine flatwoods, moist sandhills and bogs, and is attractive to pollinators.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Say hello to Summer farewell, a perennial herbaceous wildflower native to sandhills, dry flatwoods and scrub habitat. As the common name implies, Summer farewell (Dalea pinnata) blooms in late summer and early fall. Its many white flowers attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Its seeds provide food for birds and small wildlife. Summer farewell makes an excellent addition to a dry, sunny wildflower garden. It is dormant in the winter, but its spring leaves, summer and fall flowers, and fall seed pods provide plenty of color throughout the rest of the year.
Even cat people love Dogtongue wild buckwheat (Eriogonum tomentosum)! This herbaceous perennial produces a plethora of white to pinkish flowers in late summer and fall. You’ll find it blooming in sandhills, scrub and pinelands in the Panhandle and north and central peninsula. It attracts a variety of pollinators, including the thread-waisted wasp and tiphiid wasp.
No one knows who Barbara is, but we can surely admire her buttons! A member of the aster family, Grassleaf Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia graminifolia) is a fragrant wildflower with showy, solitary blooms that have a tassled, button-like appearance. Each flower has many whitish-pink to pale lavender disk florets arranged in a concentric circle — and no ray florets. It blooms summer through fall and like most Asters, attracts a plethora of pollinators.
What’s in a name? Well, if it’s Sandbog deathcamas, everything is in the name! Sandbog deathcamas (Zigadenus glaberrimus) is a poisonous wildflower native to wet flatwoods and prairies in the Panhandle. Its many star-shaped flowers are cream-colored with greenish-gold glands at the base of their petals. It blooms summer through fall and attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Don’t forget Pineland heliotrope (Euploca polyphylla) if you’re looking for year-round blooms! This member of the forget-me-not family is a Florida endemic and is adaptable to a variety of conditions. Its small white or yellow flowers attract many pollinators.