Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a perennial herbaceous plant that produces erect spikes of brilliant red blooms. It typically flowers in summer through early winter in floodplain forests, riverine swamps, spring runs and along river and stream edges. It attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata) is an attractive perennial that produces leafless spikes of lavender to bluish, tubular flowers. Bees are its predominant pollinator, but it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. It typically flowers in late winter through late spring along woodland edges, in open areas and in disturbed sites.
Buttonsage (Lantana involucrata) is a woody, evergreen shrub that produces dense clusters of small, fragrant, whitish to lavender flowers. It occurs naturally along coastal strands, dunes, hammocks, and pinelands in coastal counties from Pinellas (on the west) and Brevard (on the east) south to Monroe and into the Keys.
Christmasberry (Lycium carolinianum) gets its common name from the bright red, egg-shaped berries that it produces in abundance in December. It has also been referred to as Carolina desert-thorn, which is a reference to the occasional thorns borne on its branches. The nectar of the flowers attracts a variety of butterflies and moths. The berries, while toxic to some animals, are a favorite food source for many birds. Christmasberry is a close relative of the Goji berry (Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense).
Burr marigold (Bidens laevis) is an annual wildflower that grows en masse in wetlands and along river and marsh edges throughout Florida. Its bright yellow flowers appear in late fall through early winter and attract many bees and butterflies. Its seeds have two barb-like bristles on the end that stick to clothing, hair and animal fur.
Climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum) is a robust vine-like shrub that produces many fragrant daisy-like blooms of lavender to pinkish or even bluish. It occurs naturally in floodplain swamps and marshes, in coastal hammocks and wet pine flatwoods, and along riverbanks and lake edges, and is an excellent nectar source for many butterflies and bees.