Butterweed is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in early spring. It grows in dense stands that illuminate moist roadsides and river edges. It also occurs naturally in alluvial forests and wet, disturbed sites and attracts a variety of pollinators.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
If you are tired of mowing, watering and fertilizing the lawn, and fighting chinch bugs and other lawn pests, consider replacing your turf grass with oblongleaf twinflower, an easy-to-care-for native groundcover. It occurs naturally in dry to moist sandhills, flatwoods and mixed upland forests and attracts bees and butterflies, including the malachite (Siproeta stelenes) and white peacock (Anartia jatrophae). It is also a host plant for the common buckeye (Junonia coenia).
Some say creeping woodsorrel is a shamrock impersonator with its clove-like leaf blade. All will say that this ground-hugging native plant has an eye-catching yellow flower. It can bloom almost any time during the year, although spring is the time for heavy flowering and seed formation.
Spiderwort is an erect perennial wildflower that is very attractive to bees. And like all species in the dayflower family, it is ephemeral, meaning its flowers stay open only one day. Four species of spiderwort are native to Florida, with hairyflower spiderwort (T. hirsutiflora) growing in the Panhandle, and bluejacket or Ohio spiderwort (T. ohiensis) being the most common throughout North and Central Florida.
Also known as Canadian toadflax, blue toadflax is an annual (or occasionally biennial) wildflower that forms a delicate sea of lavender when in bloom. It is common along roadsides, in pastures and in other disturbed areas and is sometimes confused with lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata) because of its similar growth habit and bloom color, and because they often grow together.
Known by many names — scarlet sage, tropical sage, red salvia, blood sage — this versatile perennial wildflower is a steadfast addition to any wildflower garden. Its flower is one that no pollinator can resist, but it is particularly attractive to bees, large butterflies and hummingbirds. It typically blooms in summer and fall, but can bloom year-round in many parts of the state.