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

Drumheads (Polygala cruciata)

Flower Friday: Drumheads

Drumheads is a low-growing wildflower that blooms from late spring through fall. They occur naturally throughout most of Florida in wet pinelands, savannas and other open wetland habitats, as well as along marsh edges. The name Polygala comes from the Greek polys, which means “many or much,” and gala, which means “milk.” It is so-named because it was once believed that the presence of Polygala species in cow fields would result in higher milk production.

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Garberia (Garberia heterophylla). Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Flower Friday: Garberia

Garberia is a member of the Eupatorieae tribe of the Aster family, whose members produce flowers consisting of only disk and no ray florets. It is unlike most Aster species in that its growth habit is woody and shrubby rather than herbaceous. It is endemic to Florida’s north and central peninsula, and occurs naturally in scrub and xeric hammocks. It is a state-listed threatened species.

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Narrowleaf sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) by Keith Bradley

Flower Friday: Narrowleaf sunflower

Also known as swamp sunflower, Narrowleaf sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) is one of Florida’s most common sunflowers. It occurs naturally in marshes, wet flatwoods, and roadside ditches throughout North and Central Florida. It is a short-lived perennial, and blooms primarily in October and November, although some flowering can occur in September and December. In nature, it tends to form dense colonies, resulting in spectacular swaths of sunshine yellow. Narrowleaf sunflower blooms attract bees and butterflies, while its seeds provide a tasty treat for birds.

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Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) by Stacey Matrazzo

Flower Friday: Mistflower

Mistflower, blue mistflower, wild ageratum, pink eupatorium, hardy ageratum, and blue boneset are just some of the many common names used to identify this eye-catching Florida native wildflower that is also very attractive to pollinators, especially butterflies and moths.

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Forked blue curls (Trichostema dichotomum). Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Flower Friday: Forked bluecurls

Forked bluecurls is an herbaceous to woody annual that bears dainty yet distinctive bluish-purple blooms. Flowers are short-lived, opening only in the morning, but individual plants may produce thousands of flowers throughout a season. It also has a particularly long flowering season, typically beginning in late summer and lasting through late fall.

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Corn snakeroot (Eryngium aquaticum) by Stacey Matrazzo

Flower Friday: Corn snakeroot

Corn snakeroot blooms vary in color from rich lavender to a pale cornflower blue. They are globular and are surrounded by spiny bracts. They typically bloom summer through late fall, attracting a variety of pollinators. The common name snakeroot (also known as rattlesnakemaster, both of which are used to describe the Eryngium genus) may have come from its use in Native American culture as a remedy for snakebite.

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